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Rough Meadow-grass

Poa trivialis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-grass, Annual Beard-grass, Annual Meadow-grass, Arrow Bamboo, Barren Brome Grass, Bearded Couch Grass, Bearded Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Black Bent, Black Grass, Blue Fescue, Blue Moor-grass, Bog Hair-grass, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, Bread Wheat, Bristle Bent, Brown Bent, Brown Sedge, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Carnation Sedge, Cocksfoot, Cockspur, Common Bent, Common Cord-grass, Common Millet, Common Reed, Common Saltmarsh Grass, Compact Brome Grass, Corn, Couch Grass, Creeping Bent, Creeping Soft-grass, Crested Dog's-tail, Crested Hair-grass, Cultivated Oat, Curved Hard Grass, Cut Grass, Dense Silky Bent, Downy Oat-grass, Drooping Brome Grass, Drooping Tor Grass, Dune Fescue, Early Hair-grass, Early Meadow-grass, Early Sand-grass, False Brome Grass, False Oat-grass, Fern Grass, Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue, Flattened Meadow-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Foxtail Barley, French Oat, Giant Fescue, Glaucous Meadow-grass, Great Brome Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Grey Hair-grass, Hairy Brome Grass, Hairy Finger-grass, Hard Fescue, Hard Grass, Harestail Grass, Heath Grass, Holy Grass, Hybrid Marram Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Knotroot Bristlegrass, Lesser Hairy Brome Grass, Lesser Quaking Grass, Loose Silky Bent, Lyme Grass, Marram Grass, Marsh Foxtail, Mat Grass, Mat-grass Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Fescue, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Oat-grass, Mountain Melick, Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass, Narrow-leaved Small-reed, Neglected Couch Grass, Nit Grass, Orange Foxtail, Pampas Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, Plicate Sweet-grass, Purple Moor-grass, Purple Small-reed, Purple-stem Catstail, Quaking Grass, Ratstail Fescue, Red Fescue, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet-grass, Reflexed Saltmarsh Grass, Rescue Grass, Rush-leaved Fescue, Sand Catstail, Sand Couch Grass, Scandinavian Small-reed, Scottish Small-reed, Sea Barley, Sea Couch Grass, Sea Fern Grass, Sheep's Fescue, Silver Hair-grass, Six-rowed Barley, Slender Brome Grass, Small Cord-grass, Small Sweet-grass, Smaller Catstail, Smooth Brome Grass, Smooth Cord-grass, Smooth Finger-grass, Smooth Meadow-grass, Soft Brome Grass, Somerset Hair-grass, Sorghum, Spreading Meadow-grass, Squirreltail Fescue, Stiff Brome Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Fescue, Timothy Grass, Tor Grass, Tufted Hair-grass, Two-rowed Barley, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wall Barley, Wavy Hair-grass, Wavy Meadow-grass, Whorl Grass, Wild Oat, Wood Barley, Wood Fescue, Wood Meadow-grass, Wood Melick, Wood Millet, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Ditches, fields, gardens, grassland, lawns, marshes, meadows, roadsides, walls, wasteland, water, waterside, woodland.

Green, no petals
A feathery-looking flower spike with whorled branched. Each branch contains between 4 and 6 spikelets. The flowers themselves are green or purplish-green.
A caryopsis which is a type of dry, one-seeded fruit.
Broad, tapering leaves which are greyish-green and very rough. Long pointed ligules. The stems are slender. A hairless perennial which is very common throughout the British Isles.
Other Names:
Bird Grass, Fold Meadow Grass, Fowl Grass, Natural Grass, Rough Bluegrass, Roughish Meadow Grass, Roughstalk Bluegrass, Rough-stalked Meadow Grass.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Poa trivialis, also known as rough bluegrass or rough meadow-grass, is a species of grass that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is a cool-season perennial grass that forms tufts or clumps of leaves. The leaves are narrow and have a blue-green color, and are rough to the touch. The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers in the spring and summer. Poa trivialis is commonly found in meadows, pastures, and lawns. It is known for its tolerance to low fertility soils and drought. It is also used as a turf grass in lawns and sports fields, but it is not as popular as Poa pratensis because it has a coarser texture and is less wear-tolerant. It is also used for forage and hay production.


Rough Meadow-grass, scientifically known as Poa trivialis, is a grass species that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is a cool-season grass that is well adapted to shady and wet environments. The plant is a member of the Poaceae family, which also includes other important grass species such as wheat, rice, and barley.


Rough Meadow-grass is a perennial grass that can grow up to 80 cm tall. The leaves are flat and can be up to 25 cm long and 7 mm wide. They are bluish-green in color and have a rough texture, hence the name "rough" meadow-grass. The plant produces a dense tuft of leaves at the base of the stem, which helps it to survive in shady environments. The stem is usually hollow, with a diameter of about 1-2 mm. The inflorescence is a panicle that can be up to 25 cm long and 15 cm wide. The flowers are small and greenish-white in color.

Habitat and Distribution

Rough Meadow-grass is a common grass species found in damp meadows, pastures, and along riverbanks. It prefers wet soils and partial shade, and can tolerate acidic and nutrient-poor soils. The grass is found throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and has been introduced to North America, Australia, and New Zealand.


Rough Meadow-grass is commonly used as a forage grass for livestock, as it is highly palatable and nutritious. It is also used as a turf grass in shady areas, as it can tolerate low light conditions. In addition, the grass is used in erosion control and land reclamation projects, as it has a deep root system that can stabilize soils and prevent erosion.

Benefits for the Environment

Rough Meadow-grass is an important component of many grassland ecosystems, providing habitat and food for a variety of wildlife species. The plant's deep root system can help to prevent soil erosion and improve soil structure, which in turn can improve water retention and reduce runoff. Additionally, the grass can sequester carbon from the atmosphere, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Rough Meadow-grass is a versatile and important grass species that has many benefits for both livestock and the environment. Its adaptability to shady and wet environments makes it a valuable component of many grassland ecosystems. With its ability to sequester carbon, prevent erosion, and provide food and habitat for wildlife, Rough Meadow-grass is a valuable resource that deserves protection and preservation.

More Information

Rough Meadow-grass is a highly adaptable grass species that can grow in a variety of soil types and conditions. It is a cool-season grass, which means it grows best in the spring and fall when temperatures are cooler. However, it can also tolerate warmer temperatures in the summer months.

One of the main benefits of Rough Meadow-grass is its ability to provide high-quality forage for livestock. It is highly palatable and nutritious, making it a popular choice for grazing animals such as cattle and sheep. It can also be harvested for hay or silage, providing a valuable feed source for animals during the winter months.

In addition to its use as a forage grass, Rough Meadow-grass is also a popular choice for turfgrass in shady areas. Its ability to grow in low-light conditions and its deep root system make it an ideal grass species for areas that receive limited sunlight or are prone to soil erosion.

Rough Meadow-grass is also beneficial for the environment, as it provides habitat and food for a variety of wildlife species. Its deep root system helps to stabilize soils and prevent erosion, which can improve water quality and reduce the risk of flooding. In addition, the grass can sequester carbon from the atmosphere, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Rough Meadow-grass has been used for medicinal purposes in traditional medicine for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been used as a natural remedy for respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis.

In terms of its ecological benefits, Rough Meadow-grass is a valuable species for land reclamation projects. Its deep root system helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, making it a popular choice for restoring degraded or disturbed land. It is also commonly used in reforestation efforts, where it can help to provide a protective ground cover and improve soil structure for young trees.

Rough Meadow-grass can also play an important role in promoting biodiversity in grassland ecosystems. By providing habitat and food for a variety of wildlife species, it can help to support a healthy and diverse ecosystem. It is particularly important for birds, which use the grass for nesting and feeding, as well as small mammals and insects.

However, in some regions, Rough Meadow-grass has become an invasive species, particularly in areas where it has been introduced outside of its native range. It can form dense monocultures that outcompete native grass species and reduce biodiversity. In these cases, management strategies such as controlled burning or herbicide treatments may be necessary to control its spread.

In conclusion, Rough Meadow-grass is a versatile and valuable grass species that has many benefits for both livestock and the environment. Its adaptability and resilience make it an important component of many grassland ecosystems, and its ability to provide food and habitat for wildlife, prevent erosion, and sequester carbon make it a valuable resource that deserves protection and preservation. However, as with any plant species, it is important to manage its spread and prevent it from becoming an invasive species in areas where it has been introduced.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map