line.gif - 1064 Bytes

Annual Meadow-grass

Saturday 4th August 2001, West Yorkshire

annual meadow-grass IT'S NOT SURPRISING that, stepping out of our front door and picking a grass from the edge of the lawn to draw, I should have picked this one. Annual Meadow-grass, also known as Annual Bluegrass, Poa annua, is perhaps the most common grass on the planet. It grows close to the sea (but not on saltmarsh), on roadsides, in hedgerows and amongst the reeds on riversides. In the tropics it's found on mountains.

The links below show that, depending on your point of view, it can be regarded as a weed or as the ideal choice for a golf green. The Greek word 'poa' means 'fodder'.

It's usually quite small, 6 to 10 inches high (15 - 25 cm), with a triangular flowerhead. The individual flowers closely overlap each other. This one had pollen sacs hanging from one or two of the flowers. There are three of these pollens sacs, or anthers, on each flower, although they soon fall. Amongst them is the feathery stigma. I couldn't make out much of the leaf joint on this particular specimen but, hidden away where the leaf sheath clasps the stem, there should be a pointed silvery ligule (strap-like tissue).

Related Links

The Poa annua Homepage; research into strains for use in golf greens at Pennsylvania State University.

Annual bluegrass; pest management and identification at the University of California.

Linnean herbarium, Swedish Museum of Natural History; take a look at dried specimens of this grass from the collection put together by Linneaus himself; the man who named the species Poa annua. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; ''