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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

63. Poaceae, the Grass Family

23. Poa L. -- Bluegrass

2. Poa compressa L. -- Canada bluegrass


Strongly rhizomatous, glaucous perennial 1.5-6(8) dm tall; culms erect to decumbent, wiry, compressed and sharply 2-edged. Leaf blades flat to folded, 1-3.5(4.5) mm wide; sheaths compressed, strongly keeled, closed only near the base; ligules mostly 0.5-2 mm long, truncate. Panicles usually narrow and contracted with short branches, sometimes more open with the branches spreading, 1-10 cm long, the lowest branches usually 2 in number. Spikelets 2- to 6(7)-flowered, compressed, 2.8-5.5 mm long, 0.8-2 mm wide; glumes broadly lanceolate, subequal, keeled, the first glume 1.2-2.8 mm long, 1- to 3-nerved, the second glume 1.5-3.1 mm long, 3-nerved; lemmas (1.6)2-3 mm long, strongly keeled, usually purple-banded and bronzed at the tip, glabrous on the back or pubescent on the keel and marginal nerves, sometimes with a tuft of cobwebby hairs at the base; anthers 1-1.7 mm long. Grain brown, ellipsoid, 1-1.5 mm long. Jun--Aug. Shores, stream banks and meadows, also moist to dry prairie, woodland and disturbed areas, often in poor soils; common; (Intro. from Europe, naturalized from Newf. to AK, s throughout most of the U.S.).
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key


Previous Section -- Poa arida Vasey -- Plains bluegrass
Return to Family -- Poaceae - The Grass Family
Next Section -- Poa palustris L. -- Fowl bluegrass

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