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Smooth Meadow-grass

Poa pratensis

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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, 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, 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:
120 centimetres tall
Ditches, gardens, grassland, lawns, parks, roadsides, wasteland.

Green, no petals
3-5 flowers per spikelet and crowded at the ends of the stem.
A dry, one-sided seed (caryopsis).
Dull green, narrow, wiry leaves, spreading outwards at the base. Blunt-tipped.
Other Names:
Common Meadow Grass, English Meadow Grass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Meadow Bluegrass, Meadow Poa, Smooth-stalked Meadow Grass.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Poa pratensis, also known as Kentucky bluegrass or meadow bluegrass, is a species of grass that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is a cool-season perennial grass that forms dense tufts or sod. The leaves are smooth, narrow, and have a bluish-green color. The plant produces small, showy spikes of flowers in the spring and summer. Poa pratensis is commonly used as a turf grass and is often used in lawns, sports fields, and parks. It is known for its fine texture, attractive color, and good wear tolerance. It is also used for pasture and hay production. It prefers moist soil, regular irrigation and fertilization to maintain its quality. It is also used in landscaping and garden design.


Smooth Meadow-grass, scientific name Poa pratensis, is a perennial grass species that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. This species is commonly known for its versatility and hardiness, making it a popular choice for landscaping, grazing, and even golf courses.

Appearance and Habitat

Smooth Meadow-grass is a tall and slender grass species that can grow up to 2-4 feet in height. The blades of the grass are typically flat and narrow, with a smooth texture and a bright green color. The grass is commonly found in fields, meadows, and along roadsides, and it thrives in areas with moderate rainfall and moist soil.


Smooth Meadow-grass is a valuable species for a number of reasons. It is widely used in landscaping and gardening for its aesthetic appeal, as well as its tolerance to foot traffic and moderate shade. The grass is also a popular choice for grazing animals such as cows, horses, and sheep due to its high protein content and palatability. Additionally, Smooth Meadow-grass is often used in sports fields and golf courses due to its ability to withstand heavy use and recover quickly from damage.


One of the most significant benefits of Smooth Meadow-grass is its ability to prevent soil erosion. The extensive root system of the grass helps to stabilize soil and prevent it from washing away during heavy rain or wind. This makes it an ideal species for areas prone to erosion, such as along riverbanks or on steep slopes. Additionally, the grass is known for its ability to improve soil quality by adding organic matter to the soil and increasing soil fertility.


Despite its versatility and usefulness, Smooth Meadow-grass is considered a non-native invasive species in some areas, particularly in North America. The grass can quickly outcompete native species, reducing biodiversity and altering the natural ecosystem. As a result, it is important to carefully manage the growth and spread of Smooth Meadow-grass in areas where it is not native.

Smooth Meadow-grass is a valuable grass species that is widely used in landscaping, grazing, and sports fields. Its hardiness and versatility make it a popular choice for a variety of applications, and its ability to prevent soil erosion and improve soil quality make it an important species for conservation efforts. However, it is important to carefully manage the growth and spread of Smooth Meadow-grass in areas where it is not native to prevent negative impacts on local ecosystems.

More Information

Smooth Meadow-grass has been used for centuries as a forage crop for livestock, particularly in Europe where it is commonly grown alongside other grasses such as timothy and clover. The grass is high in nutritional value, containing up to 18% protein, which is beneficial for the growth and development of grazing animals.

In addition to its uses in agriculture and landscaping, Smooth Meadow-grass is also known for its medicinal properties. The grass contains a number of beneficial compounds, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. As a result, it is often used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments such as arthritis, inflammation, and digestive issues.

Smooth Meadow-grass is also an important species for wildlife, providing habitat and food for a variety of species such as songbirds and small mammals. The grass can be found in a variety of habitats, from grasslands and meadows to wetlands and forest edges.

While Smooth Meadow-grass is a hardy and versatile species, it is important to note that it can also have negative impacts on local ecosystems when it becomes invasive. Invasive Smooth Meadow-grass can outcompete native species and alter the natural ecosystem, potentially leading to a loss of biodiversity and other negative ecological impacts. As a result, it is important to manage the growth and spread of this species in areas where it is not native, and to carefully consider the potential impacts before introducing it into new areas.

Smooth Meadow-grass is a cool-season grass, meaning that it thrives in cooler temperatures and can continue to grow in early spring and fall when other grasses may be dormant. This makes it a valuable species for providing forage and grazing opportunities for livestock during these periods when other grasses may not be available.

In terms of cultivation, Smooth Meadow-grass can be grown from seed or propagated through sod. It is a relatively low-maintenance grass species, but it does require regular mowing and fertilization to maintain its appearance and health. Additionally, the grass may need to be periodically overseeded to maintain density and prevent thinning.

One potential challenge with growing Smooth Meadow-grass is its susceptibility to certain diseases, such as rust and leaf spot. These diseases can reduce the health and appearance of the grass, and may require treatment with fungicides to prevent further damage.

Smooth Meadow-grass has been the subject of numerous scientific studies, investigating its properties and potential uses. For example, research has shown that the grass contains compounds with potential antimicrobial and antifungal properties, making it a promising candidate for use in natural products and pharmaceuticals.

In addition, Smooth Meadow-grass has been shown to have a positive impact on the environment. As a perennial species, it is able to sequester carbon in the soil, helping to mitigate climate change. The grass also has a deep root system that can help to improve soil structure and reduce soil erosion, making it a valuable species for soil conservation efforts.

Smooth Meadow-grass has also been the focus of breeding programs aimed at improving its performance and characteristics. For example, researchers have developed cultivars of the grass that are more resistant to disease, have improved nutritional value, and are better suited for specific growing conditions.

Overall, Smooth Meadow-grass is a versatile and valuable species with many uses and benefits. From its use in landscaping and agriculture to its potential in natural products and pharmaceuticals, this grass species continues to be the subject of scientific inquiry and innovation. By continuing to explore its properties and potential uses, we can continue to reap the benefits of this valuable species while minimizing its potential negative impacts on the environment.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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