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Alpine Meadow-grass

Poa alpina

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, 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, 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:
30 centimetres tall
Meadows, mountains, rocky places.

Green, no petals
The pinkish-green spikelets have 2 to 4 flowers.
The fruit is a caryopsis (a type of dry, one-seeded fruit).
Narrow, linear leaves (up to 4mm wide). Long, blunt ligules. Perennial, clump-forming.
Other Names:
Alpine Bluegrass, Bluegrass.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Poa alpina, also known as alpine bluegrass, is a species of grass that is native to the mountains of Europe and Asia. It is a low-growing perennial grass that forms small, compact tufts. The leaves are narrow and often have a blue-green color. The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers in the spring. Poa alpina is well-suited for use in high altitude, cold and dry environments where other plants struggle to survive. It is often found in alpine meadows and rocky areas, and is known for its ability to survive in harsh conditions. It is also used as a ground cover in landscape design and is a good choice for use in areas with poor soil conditions.


Alpine Meadow-grass, also known as Poa alpina, is a species of grass that is native to the high-altitude alpine regions of Europe and Asia. It is a hardy plant that is adapted to the extreme conditions of these environments and is often found growing in rocky areas, on mountain slopes, and in meadows.


Poa alpina is a perennial grass that typically grows to a height of 5-30cm. Its leaves are narrow and pointed, with a bluish-green color, and its stems are slender and wiry. The plant produces small, delicate flowers that are usually white or greenish-white in color.

Habitat and Distribution

As mentioned earlier, Poa alpina is typically found in alpine regions of Europe and Asia, where it grows in rocky areas, on mountain slopes, and in meadows. It is also commonly found in subalpine and montane areas, where it can grow in moist meadows and along streams.

Ecological Importance

Poa alpina plays an important role in the ecology of alpine and subalpine environments. It is a valuable food source for a variety of herbivores, including mountain sheep, goats, and deer. The plant also helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion in mountainous areas, as its roots help to hold the soil in place.

Additionally, Poa alpina has been found to have antimicrobial properties, and some studies have suggested that it may have potential therapeutic uses.


Poa alpina is a hardy plant that is relatively easy to cultivate. It prefers cool, moist environments and is often grown as a turf grass in high-altitude regions. The plant can be propagated through seeds or by dividing established clumps.

Poa alpina is a hardy and ecologically important species of grass that is found in alpine and subalpine environments throughout Europe and Asia. Its adaptability and resilience make it a valuable plant for cultivation in high-altitude regions.

More Information

Alpine meadow-grass is a cool-season grass that grows best in cool, moist environments. It can tolerate cold temperatures and is often found growing at high elevations where temperatures are low. In addition, Poa alpina has a high tolerance for grazing and trampling, which makes it an ideal grass for areas that are grazed by livestock.

Poa alpina is also known for its ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions, such as high winds and extreme temperature fluctuations. The plant has evolved to survive in environments where resources are scarce, and it has developed adaptations that allow it to conserve water and nutrients.

In terms of its cultural significance, Poa alpina has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive problems, and inflammation. In addition, Poa alpina has been used in the production of herbal remedies, such as teas and tinctures.

Poa alpina has aesthetic value and is often used in landscaping and horticulture. The plant's delicate flowers and attractive foliage make it a popular choice for ornamental gardens, and it is often used in rock gardens and alpine plantings. Its hardiness and adaptability make it an excellent choice for landscaping in high-altitude regions where other plants may struggle to survive.

Poa alpina is also an important indicator species for monitoring the effects of climate change on alpine ecosystems. As temperatures rise, the distribution and abundance of Poa alpina are expected to change, and studying these changes can provide insight into the impacts of climate change on alpine plants and ecosystems.

In addition to its ecological and cultural significance, Poa alpina has potential applications in agriculture and food production. The plant is a good source of forage for livestock, and it has been used in some areas for hay production. Poa alpina also has a high protein content and is rich in essential amino acids, making it a potential source of protein for human consumption.

Finally, Poa alpina is an important component of alpine and subalpine biodiversity. It provides habitat and food for a variety of insect and animal species, and its presence contributes to the overall health and resilience of these ecosystems.

In summary, Alpine Meadow-grass, or Poa alpina, is a hardy and versatile species of grass that is adapted to the extreme conditions of alpine and subalpine environments. It plays an important ecological, cultural, and potentially agricultural role, and its resilience and adaptability make it a valuable plant for scientific study and practical applications.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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