E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Poa compressa L.
Canada bluegrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20809)

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Distribution of Poa compressa
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Species Information

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Perennial tufted grass from fibrous roots and rhizomes; stems often decumbent, 15-60 cm tall/long with stems and nodes distinctly compressed, some lowermost nodes exserted from sheaths of stem leaves.
Sheaths distinctly compressed, margins open 4/5-9/10 their length; blades 1.5-4 mm wide, flat; ligules 1-3 mm long, the tips rounded, margins rough, the backs rough.
Inflorescence an erect panicle, 2-10 cm long, lanceolate to egg-shaped, sparse to congested, often interrupted, the branches mostly 1 to 3 per node, eventually spreading, less than 3 cm long, distinctly rough on the angles; spikelets laterally compressed, 3.5-7 mm long, 3- to 7-flowered; glumes 2-3 mm long, the lower ones 3-nerved; rachilla internodes mostly less than 1 mm long, smooth to minutely bumpy; lemmas lanceolate, 2.3-3.5 mm long, the tips sharp-pointed, keel and marginal nerves short silky-hairy, hairless between the nerves; calluses hairless or more often cobwebby; palea keels rough; flowers bisexual; anthers 1.3-1.8 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist areas, roadsides and meadows in the lowland and montane zones; infrequent in S BC; introduced from Eurasia or possibly native, occurring throughout US and S Canada, N to AK.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Poa compressa

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 1 984 2525
Slope Gradient (%) 0 14 90
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 203 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(3), BG(6), CDF(12), CWH(3), ESSF(24), ICH(7), IDF(196), IMA(1), MS(27), PP(59), SWB(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References