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Glaucous Meadow-grass

Poa glauca

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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, 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:
80 centimetres tall
Cliffs, gardens, mountains, rocky places, waterside.

Green, no petals
The inflorescence consists of branched spikelets and is variable in length.
A dry one-seeded fruit called a caryopsis.
A perennial, dense clump-forming grass with narrow, linear, waxy leaves. Similar to Alpine Meadow-grass (Poa alpina) but with shorter ligules.
Other Names:
Blue Tussock Grass, Glaucous Bluegrass, White Bluegrass.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Poa glauca, also known as blue tussock grass, is a species of grass that is native to New Zealand, Australia and South America. It is a perennial grass that forms tufts or clumps of leaves, with distinctive blue-gray foliage. The leaves are narrow and have a distinctive glaucous color. The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers in the spring. Poa glauca is often used as a ornamental grass, ground cover and turf grass in landscaping and garden design. Due to its low maintenance and tolerance to drought, heat and frost it is becoming more popular as a landscaping grass. It is also used for revegetation of degraded land.


Glaucous Meadow-grass, or Poa glauca, is a species of grass native to North America, where it can be found from Alaska to Mexico. It is a cool-season grass that is commonly found in subalpine and alpine regions, as well as in meadows, rocky slopes, and disturbed areas.

One of the most distinctive features of Glaucous Meadow-grass is its bluish-green color, which is caused by the presence of a waxy coating on the leaves that reflects light. This coating helps the plant retain moisture and protect it from sun and wind damage, making it well-suited to the harsh environments in which it thrives.

Glaucous Meadow-grass typically grows in dense tufts that can reach up to 60 cm in height, and its leaves are narrow, flat, and sharply pointed. The plant produces flowers in the summer months, which are arranged in a dense, branched cluster at the top of a stem. The flowers are small and greenish in color, and they give way to seeds that are dispersed by wind.

Glaucous Meadow-grass plays an important role in alpine and subalpine ecosystems, where it provides food and habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. It is also an important forage species for livestock in high-elevation grazing areas.

In addition to its ecological importance, Glaucous Meadow-grass has also been used by humans for a variety of purposes. Native American tribes used the plant for food, medicine, and as a source of fiber for weaving baskets and other items. Today, the grass is used primarily for reclamation and erosion control, as it is able to establish quickly on disturbed sites and is highly tolerant of harsh growing conditions.

Glaucous Meadow-grass is a versatile plant that can be grown in a variety of soil types, although it prefers well-drained soils with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. It is highly tolerant of cold temperatures, and can survive in areas with a short growing season and frequent freeze-thaw cycles.

One of the unique features of Glaucous Meadow-grass is its ability to self-pollinate, which allows it to reproduce even in isolated populations. This trait has made it a valuable model species for studies of evolutionary and ecological processes in alpine and subalpine environments.

In addition to its ecological and cultural significance, Glaucous Meadow-grass has also been studied for its potential as a forage crop. It has been found to have high levels of crude protein and digestibility, making it a valuable source of nutrition for livestock in high-elevation grazing areas.

Despite its importance, Glaucous Meadow-grass is threatened by a variety of factors, including habitat loss due to development and climate change, and invasive plant species that can outcompete it for resources. Efforts are underway to protect and conserve Glaucous Meadow-grass and its habitats, through measures such as habitat restoration, invasive species management, and seed banking.

Glaucous Meadow-grass is also known for its ability to help stabilize soil in areas that are prone to erosion. Its dense root system helps to hold soil in place, preventing it from washing away during heavy rainfall or snowmelt. This makes it a valuable species for erosion control and soil stabilization projects, particularly in areas where construction or development activities have disturbed the natural landscape.

In addition to its ecological and practical uses, Glaucous Meadow-grass is also a popular ornamental grass in landscaping and gardening. Its bluish-green color and fine texture make it a striking addition to rock gardens, border plantings, and other landscape designs. It is also easy to grow from seed or transplants, and requires minimal maintenance once established.

Despite its hardiness and adaptability, Glaucous Meadow-grass is not immune to the effects of climate change. As temperatures continue to rise and precipitation patterns shift, the plant may face challenges in adapting to new environmental conditions. It is important to continue studying Glaucous Meadow-grass and other alpine and subalpine plant species, in order to better understand their responses to changing climate and inform conservation efforts.

Overall, Glaucous Meadow-grass is a remarkable species with a wide range of ecological, practical, and aesthetic uses. Its hardiness and adaptability make it an important species for alpine and subalpine ecosystems, and its beauty and versatility make it a popular choice for landscaping and gardening projects. By working to protect and conserve Glaucous Meadow-grass and its habitats, we can help ensure that this valuable species continues to thrive for generations to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map