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Flattened Meadow-grass

Poa compressa

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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, 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, Rough Meadow-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:
60 centimetres tall
Grassland, meadows, walls, waterside, wetland.

Green, no petals
One-sided, greyish-green flower spike, up to 4 inches (10cm) in length. Purple tinged florets.
The spikelets later turn brown, the florets fall and just the glumes are left behind.
Hairless, blue-tinged leaves, up to 4 inches long.
Other Names:
Canada Bluegrass, Canadian Bluegrass.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Poa compressa, commonly known as Canada bluegrass or Canadian bluegrass, is a perennial grass species native to North America and Europe. It is typically found in wet meadows, along stream banks, and in other moist habitats. The plant has short, narrow leaves and small, blue-green inflorescences. Poa compressa is a cool-season grass and is often used for forage and turf. It is also considered an invasive species in some areas.


Flattened Meadow-grass (Poa compressa) is a type of perennial grass that is commonly found throughout North America and Europe. As the name suggests, this grass has a flattened stem and compressed seed heads, which makes it a distinctive species in its habitat.


Flattened Meadow-grass is a low-growing plant, usually reaching up to 2 feet in height. The leaves are narrow and slightly rough on the surface, and they form a dense mat that spreads outward. The stem of this grass is flattened, and it is often slightly zigzagged. The seed heads are compressed and flattened, hence the name, and they are usually about 2-4 inches long.


This grass species is found in a wide range of habitats, including meadows, pastures, fields, lawns, and disturbed areas. It prefers well-drained soils and is tolerant of both drought and wet conditions. Flattened Meadow-grass is also known to grow in areas with low fertility, making it a common sight in abandoned or neglected fields.


Flattened Meadow-grass has been used for various purposes, including as a forage for livestock and as a turfgrass. Its low-growing habit and ability to withstand foot traffic make it a popular choice for lawns and sports fields. It is also used as a cover crop to prevent soil erosion and improve soil structure.

Ecological Importance

Flattened Meadow-grass is an important component of many grassland ecosystems. It provides food and habitat for various insects, birds, and small mammals. It is also an important source of carbon storage, helping to mitigate climate change. Its ability to grow in disturbed areas makes it a valuable species for the restoration of degraded ecosystems.


While Flattened Meadow-grass is generally considered a desirable species, it can become invasive in some areas. Invasive populations of this grass can displace native species and reduce biodiversity. To prevent the spread of invasive populations, it is recommended to remove seed heads before they mature and to avoid planting this species in areas where it is not native.

Flattened Meadow-grass is an important species in many grassland ecosystems. It is widely used for various purposes, including as a forage for livestock, turfgrass, and cover crop. While it can become invasive in some areas, it is generally considered a valuable species for the restoration of degraded ecosystems.

More Information

Flattened Meadow-grass is a member of the Poaceae family, which is the fifth largest plant family and includes many economically important grass species such as wheat, rice, and corn. The flattened stem of this grass helps it to withstand mowing and grazing pressure, making it a popular choice for lawns and pastures.

One of the interesting characteristics of Flattened Meadow-grass is its ability to adapt to different environmental conditions. This grass has been shown to exhibit high levels of genetic diversity, allowing it to adapt to a wide range of climatic and soil conditions. This adaptability has helped it to become a successful and widespread species throughout North America and Europe.

Flattened Meadow-grass is also known to have allelopathic properties, which means it can release chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plant species. This can be both a benefit and a drawback depending on the context. In some cases, this allelopathic effect can help to suppress invasive plant species and promote the growth of desirable plant species. However, in other cases, it can also contribute to the displacement of native plant species and reduce biodiversity.

Flattened Meadow-grass is also known to have medicinal properties. Some Native American tribes have used this grass to treat a variety of ailments, including sore throats, stomachaches, and headaches. The seeds of this grass have been used as a diuretic and to treat bladder problems.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Flattened Meadow-grass is also known to have cultural significance. Some Native American tribes have used this grass in traditional ceremonies and as a symbol of resilience and adaptability.

As with many grass species, Flattened Meadow-grass is also an important contributor to soil health. Its deep root system helps to improve soil structure and increase nutrient availability. This can benefit both the grass itself and other plant species growing in the same ecosystem.

Finally, it is worth noting that Flattened Meadow-grass is also an important species for studying plant ecology and evolution. Its wide range and adaptability make it an interesting subject for research into topics such as plant adaptation, plant-animal interactions, and plant community dynamics.

In conclusion, Flattened Meadow-grass is a versatile and important grass species with a wide range of uses and ecological roles. From its medicinal properties to its ability to improve soil health, this grass has played an important role in human and ecological systems for thousands of years. As we continue to study and manage this species, we can learn more about the complex relationships between plants, animals, and the environment, and work towards building more sustainable and resilient ecosystems.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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