Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Autumn Bluegrass - Poa autumnalis   Muhlenberg ex Elliott
Members of Poaceae:
Members of Poa with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
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AuthorMuhlenberg ex Elliott
DistributionEssentially throughout the state. Present gaps likely will be filled with additional collecting.

NJ to MI, south to FL and TX.
AbundanceFrequent to common throughout. This species is oddly ranked by the NCNHP as S4, but it is clearly an S5 species.
HabitatMesic to moist, nutrient rich, hardwood or hardwood-pine forests and woodlands -- both on slopes and in floodplains, including along stream banks.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting March-May. Note the unfortunate common name!
IdentificationThese plants are loosely clumped perennials, 1-2.5 feet tall. Like some other NC Poa species, the inflorescences are composed of well-spaced whorls of 1-2 (-4) slender branches. Spikelets occur near the ends of the branches and lemmas have no tuft or web of hairs at the base (as opposed to our other look-alike species).
Taxonomic CommentsNone

The genus Poa contains some 500 species globally, about 70 in N.A. A typical Poa species has a number of basal leaves, few stem leaves, and a terminal, open inflorescence. The inflorescence is composed of well-spaced whorls of 2-6 skinny branches, usually with short side branchlets and these bearing spikelets. Branches may be strongly ascending, horizontal, or reflexed. Spikelets are composed of 2-6 florets and are generally laterally compressed. Each glume and lemma is acute to blunt, but seldom acuminate as in many Festuca species. Unlike Festuca and Bromus, most Poa species have a small wispy tuft of white hairs at the base of each floret.
Other Common Name(s)Sadly, none!
State RankS4 [S5]
Global RankG5
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