Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Woodland Bluegrass - Poa sylvestris   A. Gray
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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AuthorA. Gray
DistributionMountains and Piedmont; disjunct to Brunswick County. The gaps in the Piedmont probably reflect under-collecting rather than actual absence. The Brunswick County record is from Bryant Mill Creek, subject to flooding by the nutrient-rich Cape Fear River. Many other "Piedmont" species occur there.

NY and southern Ont. to SD, south to northern FL and TX.
AbundanceUncommon throughout, except rare in the southern Coastal Plain. The website editors suggest a State Rank of S3.
HabitatMoist to mesic hardwoods and pine-hardwoods, streamsides, small floodplain forests.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting April-June.
IdentificationThis bluegrass is very leafy compared with most of our other species, especially in the lower 1/3 of the stems. It may be confused with P. saltuensis, but the inflorescence has 3-6 branches per whorl (vs. 1-3 branches per whorl in P. saltuensis). From P. alsodes it differs in having pubescent marginal veins on the lemmas (vs. glabrous marginal veins in that 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)Sylvan Bluegrass, Forest Bluegrass
State RankS2S3 [S3]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
USACE-empFACW link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieWhite Pines Preserve, base of ledge by Rocky River, 12 May 2024. ChathamPhoto_natural
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