Poa annua, or annual meadow grass (known in America more commonly as annual bluegrass or simply poa), is a widespread low-growing turfgrass in temperate climates. Notwithstanding the reference to annual plant in its name, perennial bio-types do exist.[2] This grass originated as a hybrid between Poa supina and Poa infirma.[3] Major chromosomal rearrangements after polyploidy have contributed to variation in genome size in Poa annua.[4]

Poa annua
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Pooideae
Genus: Poa
P. annua
Binomial name
Poa annua
Poa annua as a weed in city and urban ecosystems
Poa annua as a turfgrass for use on golf course putting greens



It has a slightly creeping, fibrous, rootstock. The stem grows from 15–25 cm (6-10 in.) high. It is slightly flattened, due to being folded rather than rolled.

The panicle is open and triangular shaped, 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 in.) long. The spikelets are stalked, awnless, 1 to 2 cm (3/8 to 3/4 in.) long when flowering, and loosely arranged on delicate paired or spreading branches. Sometimes they are tinged purple.

The vivid green leaves are short and blunt at the tips, shaped like the prow of a small canoe. They are soft and drooping. Long sheaths clasp the stem. The leaves are smooth above and below, with finely serrated edges. Occasionally the leaves are serrated transversely.

The ligule is pointed and silvery. Compared this to Common Meadowgrass Poa pratensis, which has a squared ligule, and Poa trivialis, which has a pointed, but less silvery ligule.

The leaves are smooth above and below, with finely serrated edges. Occasionally the leaves are serrated transversely.

It is in flower all year around except for severe winters. The seeds ripen and are deposited 8 months of the year. The plant grows rapidly from seed, flowering within 6 weeks, seeding and then dying.[5]



Poa is derived from the Greek name for a type of fodder grass.[6] Annua is Latin, meaning 'annual' or 'lasting a year'.[6]

Distribution and habitat


It is a common weed of cultivation, known in the Americas as annual bluegrass.[7] It occurs as a common constituent of lawns, where it is also often treated as a weed, and grows on waste ground. Many golf putting greens, including the Oakmont Country Club greens, are annual bluegrass,[8] although many courses have converted to creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera).

It has appeared on King George Island in the Antarctic South Shetland Islands as an invasive species,[9] as well as on Australia's subantarctic Heard and Macquarie Islands.


  1. ^ Brummitt, N. (2013). "Annual meadow grass". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T168729A1217340. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  2. ^ Jr, J. M. Vargas; Turgeon, Alfred J. (2003-12-19). Poa Annua: Physiology, Culture, and Control of Annual Bluegrass. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-47268-1.
  3. ^ Collins pocket guide Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns. Fitter.R, Fitter.A, Farrer.A. 1995. page 54
  4. ^ Benson, Christopher W.; Sheltra, Matthew R.; Maughan, Peter J.; Jellen, Eric N.; Robbins, Matthew D.; Bushman, B. Shaun; Patterson, Eric L.; Hall, Nathan D.; Huff, David R. (2023-06-26). "Homoeologous evolution of the allotetraploid genome of Poa annua L". BMC Genomics. 24 (1): 350. doi:10.1186/s12864-023-09456-5. ISSN 1471-2164. PMC 10291818. PMID 37365554.
  5. ^ BSBI Description Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 10 December 2010.
  6. ^ a b Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521866453 (hardback), ISBN 9780521685535 (paperback). pp 50, 308
  7. ^ Ohlendorf, B.; D. W. Cudney; C. L. Elmore; V. A. Gibeault (April 2003). "Annual Bluegrass Management Guidelines--UC IPM". University of California. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
  8. ^ Dvorchak, Robert (2007-06-13). "Oakmont-inspired Stimpmeter allows USGA to accurately measure speed, consistency of putting surfaces". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  9. ^ Antarctic ecology: Polar invaders, The Economist, Mar 6th 2012