Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Kentucky Bluegrass - Poa pratensis   L.
Members of Poa with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
AuthorL.
DistributionNearly throughout the state; except uncommon on the Outer Banks/barrier islands, Sandhills proper, and outer Southern Coastal Plain.

Native to Europe; in N.A. native subspecies occur in the Arctic, with disjunct occurrences in the high Rockies and White Mountains; alien subspecies occur elsewhere except most of FL and TX.
AbundanceFrequent to common throughout, except uncommon in the Sandhills proper and the Outer Banks.
HabitatNaturalized in forests, woodlands, wetlands, lawns, roadsides, pastures, disturbed soil. Widely planted for forage.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting April-August.
IdentificationKentucky Bluegrass, despite its name, is not native to KY or anywhere in the southeastern U.S. Plants are perennial, rhizomatous and so are turf-forming, green or bluish green. Culms may reach 2 feet or more, with relatively open inflorescences and 2-7 branches per node. The florets have white wispy hairs at their base. The well-developed rhizomes separate it from our other bluegrasses, except P. cuspidata and P. compressa.
Taxonomic CommentsThe 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.
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State RankSE
Global RankG5
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