West Highland Flora

Annual Meadow-grass


Poa annua

 

Poa annua

Photo Carl Farmer
7 Oct 2001 Portree, Skye

Very common on bare ground of any kind, including gardens, waste ground, paths, sand dunes, entrances to rabbit burrows and sometimes high on hills.  Often found in paving cracks where survives trampling.  Also in short grass, grazed or mown.

Plant to 30 cm high.  Spikelets 3-7 mm long.  Leaves 1-5 mm wide.

ID: Plant has typical Poa spikelets as in pic on left.  If your grass has spikelets like this, then it should be P annua if

  • The panicle is broadly triangular in shape as in pics on this page, the base of the triangle little shorter than the other two sides

  • The lowest branches on the panicle are 1 or 2 together, occasionally 3, never more

  • Base of panicle nearer to topmost leaf than to tip of panicle

  • Lowest panicle branches bare for some distance from base, spikelets crowded towards the end

  • Ligule longer than broad

Use good specimens and more than one if possible.

Having said all that, any small lowland Poa is almost certain to be this species, especially if it is not growing upright and has wrinkles on the top leaf.

Other features: Top leaf hooded at tip, often with a band of wrinkles across its width, a good ID character.  Annual, but sometimes rooting from stem nodes, flowers at any time of year.  Ligule 2-5 mm long.  Never viviparous.  Stem slightly flattened.  Panicle branches downturned after flowering (another good ID character)

 

Poa annua

Photo Carl Farmer
7 Oct 2001 Portree, Skye

  Poa annua

Photo Carl Farmer
23 Sep 2002 Glenbrittle, Skye
Spikelets 6 mm long
 

Typical low-growing habit (the broad shiny
leaves are a Woodrush growing with it)
  An unusually upright specimen
(with Marsh Foxtail)

 

Poa annua

Photo Carl Farmer
25 Aug 2002 Scorrybreac, Skye

 

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