Poa[2] is a genus of about 500 species of grasses, native to the temperate regions of both hemispheres. Common names include meadow-grass (mainly in Europe and Asia), bluegrass (mainly in North America), tussock (some New Zealand species), and speargrass. Poa (πόα) is Greek for "fodder". Poa are members of the subfamily Pooideae of the family Poaceae.[3][4][5][6]

Annual meadow-grass (Poa annua)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Pooideae
Supertribe: Poodae
Tribe: Poeae
Subtribe: Poinae
Genus: Poa
  • Panicularia Heist. ex Fabr.
  • Poagris Raf.
  • Paneion Lunell
  • Anthochloa Nees & Meyen
  • Dasypoa Pilg.
  • Libyella Pamp.
  • Bellardiochloa Chiov.
  • Arctopoa (Griseb.) Prob.
  • Parodiochloa C.E.Hubb.
  • Tovarochloa T.D.Macfarl. & But
  • Tzvelevia E.B.Alexeev
  • Ochlopoa (Asch. & Graebn.) H.Scholz
  • Nicoraepoa Soreng & L.J.Gillespie

Bluegrass, which has green leaves, derives its name from the seed heads, which are blue when the plant is allowed to grow to its natural height of two to three feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters).[7][8][9]

The genus Poa includes both annual and perennial species. Most are monoecious, but a few are dioecious (separate male and female plants). The leaves are narrow, folded or flat, sometimes bristled, and with the basal sheath flattened or sometimes thickened, with a blunt or hooded apex and membranaceous ligule.[10][11][12]

Cultivation and uses

Many of the species are important pasture plants, used extensively by grazing livestock. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) is the most extensively used cool-season grass used in lawns, sports fields, and golf courses in the United States.[13] Annual bluegrass (Poa annua) can sometimes be considered a weed.[14]

According to second-century physician Galen, the roots of certain species are good for treating fresh wounds and bleeding. In the sixteenth century, Poa grasses were used to treat inflammation of the kidney.[15]

Some of the Poa species are popular for gardens and for landscaping in New Zealand.

Insect foodplant

Lepidoptera whose caterpillars feed on Poa include:

Selected species


  1. Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. From Greek πόα "grass, meadow."
  3. Flora of China Vol. 22 Page 257 早熟禾属 zao shu he shu Poa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 67. 1753
  4. Flora of Pakistan
  5. Altervista Flora Italiana, genera Poa includes photos and distribution maps for several species
  6. Soreng, R. J. & P. M. Peterson. 2012. Revision of Poa L. (Poaceae, Pooideae, Poeae, Poinae) in Mexico: new records, re-evaluation of P. ruprechtii, and two new species, P. palmeri and P. wendtii. PhytoKeys 15: 1–104
  7. What Makes Kentucky's Bluegrass Blue. New York Times. June 3, 1993.]
  8. Longhi-Wagner, H. M. 1987. Gramineae. Tribo Poeae, in Fl. Ilust. Rio Grande do Sul. Boletim do Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul 41: 1–191
  9. Zon, A. P. M. v. 1992. Graminées du Cameroun. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 92–1(2): 1–557
  10. Cabi, E. & M. Doğan. 2012. Poaceae. 690–756. In A. Güner, S. Aslan, T. Ekim, M. Vural & M. T. Babaç (eds.) Türkiye Bitkileri Listesi. Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanik Bahçesi ve Flora Araştırmaları Derneği Yayını, Istanbul
  11. Gibbs Russell, L. W., M. Koekermoer, L. Smook, N. P. Barker, H. M. Anderson & M. J. Dallwitz. 1990. Grasses of Southern Africa. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa 58: i–ix,.
  12. Negritto, M. A. & A. M. Antón. 2000. Revisión de las especies de Poa (Poaceae) del noroeste argentino. Kurtziana 28(1): 95–136
  13. Dvorchak, Robert (June 13, 2007). "Oakmont-inspired Stimpmeter allows USGA to accurately measure speed, consistency of putting surfaces". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
  14. Ohlendorf, B.; Cudney, D. W.; Elmore, C. L.; Gibeault, V. A. (April 2003). "Annual Bluegrass Management Guidelines--UC IPM". University of California. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
  15. Gerarde, John (1597). "The Herball or Generall Historie Of Plantes". Retrieved 2009-01-11.
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