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

Poa secunda J. Presl subsp. secunda
Sandberg's bluegrass
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants
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Distribution of Poa secunda subsp. secunda
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Species Information

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Perennial, more or less densely tufted grass from fibrous roots; stems 15-120 cm tall.
Sheath margins open 3/4-9/10 their length; sterile shoots emerging inside sheaths and breaking through the sheath bases; blades 0.4-3 (5) mm wide, often glaucous (ssp. juncifolia), flat, folded, or in-rolled, thin or thick, smooth or rough; ligules 0.5-10 mm long, the tips blunt to long-pointed, the backs smooth or rough.
Inflorescence an erect, somewhat lax panicle, 2-25 cm long, usually moderately green or purplish, narrowly lanceolate to egg-shaped, congested, more or less open in flower and contracted at maturity, infrequently permanently open, some glaucous, the branches usually 1 to 3 per node, usually appressed or ascending, usually sparsely to distinctly rough on and between weakly developed angles, with spikelets in the terminal 1/2; spikelets weakly laterally compressed to nearly round, usually narrowly lanceolate, green or strongly purplish, 4-8 mm long, some glaucous, (2-) 3- to 10-flowered; glumes broadly lanceolate, the keels indistinct, the lower glumes 3-nerved; rachilla internodes usually exceeding 1 mm long, smooth or rough; lemmas lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate or slightly oblanceolate, weakly keeled, 3.5-5 mm long, the tips rounded to broadly sharp-pointed (with broad thin margins), hairless or minutely soft- to short silky-hairy on the keels and marginal nerves, hairless or hairy between the nerves; calluses hairless or with a crown of hairs up to 0.5 (2) mm long; palea keels rough, medially some minutely soft- or short silky-hairy; flowers bisexual; anthers 1.5-3 mm long.
Two variable, facultatively apomictic subspecies occur in BC:

1. Lemmas smooth or minutely rough, at most crisp short-hairy on the nerves near the base; palea nerves rough; ligules all less than 2 mm long, squared-off to rounded, firm, rough on the backs.............. ssp. juncifolia (Scribn.) Soreng

1. Lemmas more or less short-hairy to silky-hairy on the nerves and between them, rarely smooth between the nerves; palea mostly silky-hairy on the nerves below and between them; ligules of at least the upper stem leaves more than 2 mm long, sharp-pointed to long-pointed, smooth or rough................. ssp. secunda

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist meadows and grasslands from the steppe to lower alpine zones; ssp. juncifolia - common in saline to alkaline meadows and grasslands to rich meadows in the steppe and montane zones; ssp. secunda - common on well-drained meadows and grasslands in the steppe and montane zones; N to extreme S AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to MX, MI, MN, OK, NM, AZ and CA

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Poa secunda ssp. secunda

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) 92 859 2661
Slope Gradient (%) 0 24 360
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 199 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 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(14), BAFA(3), BG(315), BWBS(1), CDF(4), ESSF(45), ICH(8), IDF(155), IMA(4), MS(11), PP(133), SBS(4), SWB(1)


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.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Poa gracillima var. gracillima

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References