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

Poa secunda J. Presl
Sandberg's bluegrass (Nevada bluegrass (ssp. juncifolia); Sandberg bluegrass)
Poaceae (Grass family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #13772)

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Distribution of Poa 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

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

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

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) 184 919 2428
Slope Gradient (%) 0 30 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 192 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
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(15), BAFA(1), BG(153), ESSF(49), ICH(126), IDF(177), IMA(1), MH(4), MS(21), PP(100), SBS(4), SWB(3)


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

Festuca oregona Vasey
Poa ampla Merr.
Poa brachyglossa Piper
Poa buckleyana Nash
Poa canbyi (Scribn.) Howell
Poa confusa Rydb.
Poa englishii H. St. John & Hardin
Poa gracillima Vasey
Poa gracillima var. multnomae (Piper) C.L. Hitchc.
Poa incurva Scribn. & T.A. Williams
Poa juncifolia Scribn.
Poa juncifolia subsp. porteri Keck
Poa juncifolia var. ampla (Merr.) Dorn
Poa juncifolia var. juncifolia Scribn. [superfluous autonym]
Poa laevigata Scribn.
Poa nevadensis Vasey ex Scribn.
Poa nevadensis var. juncifolia (Scribn.) Beetle
Poa orcuttiana Vasey
Poa sandbergii Vasey
Poa scabrella (Thurb.) Benth. ex Vasey
Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia (Scribn.) Soreng
Poa secunda subsp. secunda J. Presl [superfluous autonym]
Poa secunda var. elongata (Vasey) Dorn
Poa secunda var. incurva (Scribn. & Williams) Beetle
Poa secunda var. stenophylla (Vasey) Beetle
Poa stenantha var. sandbergii (Vasey) Boivin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References