Poa pratensis, known as Smooth Meadow-grass or Kentucky Bluegrass, is a species of grass native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa and North America.
The name Kentucky Bluegrass derives from its flower heads, which are blue when the plant is allowed to grow to its natural height of two to three feet.
Poa pratensis is a herbaceous perennial plant 30-70 cm tall (occasionally 90 cm). The leaves are narrow-linear, up to 20 cm long and 3-5 mm broad, smooth or slightly roughened, with a rounded to truncate ligule 1-2 mm long. The conical panicle is 10-20 cm long with 3-5 branches in the basal whorls; the oval spikelets are 3-6 mm long with 2-5 florets.
Poa pratensis is the type species of the grass family Poaceae.
There are two ill-defined subspecies:
- Poa pratensis subsp. pratensis - temperate regions
- Poa pratensis subsp. colpodea - Arctic
Cultivation and production
Since the 1950s/early-1960s 90% of Kentucky Bluegrass seed has been produced on specialist farms in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Hybridization with Poa arachnifera
During the 1990s, botanists began experimenting with producing hybrids of P. pratensis
and Poa arachnifera
(Texas bluegrass), with the goal of creating the ultimate drought
-resistant lawn grass.