Poa pratensis

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Legend for Species Pages

Kentucky Bluegrass

Poa pratensis
  • ANPC Rank –
  • Moss, Flora of Alberta – Circumpolar
  • Global Invasive Species Database – No
  • NatureServe Rank – Medium
  • Haber, Upland – Minor
  • Haber, Wetland – No
  • CWF, Status & Invasive Range – Potentially of national concern, BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NF, NB, NS, YT
  • Alberta Revegetation Guidelines – Invasive agronomic: in prairies ~ foothills
  • The Nature Conservancy – Yes, w/ ESA
  • CBCN – Potential
  • AB Weed – No


There are both alien and native taxa that belong to this species, and they are difficult to distinguish by appearance. According to Barkworth et. al 2007, the native subspecies found in Alberta is P. pratensis spp. alpigena, which is restricted to arctic, alpine and far northern Alberta. The exotic ssp. is P. pratensis ssp. pratensis which is widespread, but uncommon in areas of overland with ssp. alpigena. See Barkworth et. al 2007 for a key to the various subspecies of Poa pratensis.

Forms dense turf that tends to exclude other plants (Dandelions notwithstanding). A favorite of cattle who will crop it short, leaving nearby alternatives untouched, despite which it will expand, especially in spring and fall. How and whether to attempt control is unclear, but new planting in or near natural areas should be avoided, as it will spread. Native foothills pastures if used heavily over a number of years seem to evolve toward dominance by Bluegrass & Dandelion.

Barkworth, M.E., L.K. Anerton, K.M. Capels, S.Long and M.B. Piep (Eds.). 2007. Manual of grasses for North America north of Mexico. Utah State University Press. 627 pp.

[1] Link to USDA Plants Profile for Poa pratensis L.

[2] Link to USDA Plants Characteristics for Poa pratensis L.

[3] Link to NatureServe I-Rank info for Poa pratensis

Poa prat 1.jpg
from Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest