Poa annua - L.
Annual Bluegrass
Other Common Names: annual bluegrass
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Poa annua L. (TSN 41107)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.157900
Element Code: PMPOA4Z060
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Grass Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Cyperales Poaceae Poa
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Poa annua
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (13Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Alaska (SNA), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNR), Hawaii (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Labrador (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA), Yukon Territory (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AKexotic, ALexotic, ARexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GA, HIexotic, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MA, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MSexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OKexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SCexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, LBexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic, YTexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Unknown
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Poa annua occurs in every U.S. state and is apparently widespread within each state. Poa annua is often a lawn and garden weed and is also characteristic of unstable and disturbed situations (Hutchinson and Seymour 1982). In addition to manicured areas it also occurs on roadsides, waste ground, trails in woods, clearings, shores, and stream banks. In Kentucky, it is listed as a lesser threat which is defined as an exotic plant species that seems to principally spread and remain in disturbed corridors and does not readily invade natural areas. Poa annua occurs in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Grand Canyon National Park, and Channel Islands National Park. In Grand Canyon National Park, it occurs in areas that have been disturbed within the last 10 years, is associated with early successional species, and shows little or no invasion of native communities. It is not considered to be a strong competitor with established plants. Apparently its impacts on native species are low but more information is needed.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: High/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 24Mar2004
Evaluator: Tomaino, A.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to Europe (Whitson 1996).

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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Established outside cultivation in the U.S. (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: It occurs on roadsides and in other open areas as well as in lawns, gardens, and cultivated crops (Whitson 1996).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: No mention of changes in abiotic ecosystem processes or system-wide parameters found in the literature; assumption is that any alterations are not major/irreversible.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance
Comments: In Kentucky, it is listed as a lesser threat which is defined as exotic plant species which seem to principally spread and remain in disturbed corridors, not readily invading natural areas (Kentucky EPPC 2000). Poa annua does not compete strongly with established plants (Hutchinson and Seymour 1982). It is considered a poor competitor in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team). In Grand Canyon National Park, it is found on sites disturbed within the last 10 years, is associated with early successional species and shows little or no invasion of native communities (APRS Implementation Team 2001). Apparently its impacts on native species are low but more information is needed.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Low significance
Comments: Poa annua does not compete strongly with established plants (Hutchinson and Seymour 1982). It is considered a poor competitor in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team). In Kentucky, it is listed as a lesser threat which is defined as exotic plant species which seem to principally spread and remain in disturbed corridors, not readily invading natural areas (Kentucky EPPC 2000). In Grand Canyon National Park, it is found on sites disturbed within the last 10 years, is associated with early successional species and shows little or no invasion of native communities (APRS Implementation Team 2001).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Unknown

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Medium/Low significance
Comments: In Hawaii, it occurs in disturbed mesic and wet forest (Wagner et al. 1999). These areas may be of conservation significance. Poa annua also occurs in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and in Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In Grand Canyon National Park, it is found on sites disturbed within the last 10 years, is associated with early successional species and shows little or no invasion of native communities (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In California, it is found at low elevations especially near the coast including in Channel Islands National Park (Haubensak and Smyth 1999). Apparently Poa annua usually occurs in areas that are not of conservation significance, such as lawns, cultivated lands, and waste places (Muenscher 1955).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Widespread. Occurs in every U.S. state (Kartesz 1999). In Hawaii, it occurs on all of the main islands except Nihau and Kahoolawe; it also occurs on Kure and Midway atolls (Wagner et al. 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: In Kentucky, it is listed as a lesser threat which is defined as exotic plant species which seem to principally spread and remain in disturbed corridors, not readily invading natural areas (Kentucky EPPC 2000). According to Cronquist et al. (1977), in the Intermountain region, its objectionable qualities are over-exaggerated. Poa annua occurs in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Grand Canyon National Park,and Channel Islands National Park (Haubensak and Smyth 1999; APRS Implementation Team 2001). It is not known whether it is negatively impacting biodiversity in these parks. However, in Grand Canyon National Park, it is found on sites disturbed within the last 10 years, is associated with early successional species and shows little or no invasion of native communities (APRS Implementation Team 2001). It is considered a poor competitor in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High significance
Comments: Occurs in every U.S. state (Kartesz 1999). Abundant in moist soil nearly throughout the U.S. (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). In California, it occurs in every floristic province (Baldwin et al. 2004). Presumeably, it is present in more than half of the biogeographic units in the U.S (inferred from TNC 2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Abundant in moist soil nearly throughout the U.S., often a lawn weed (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). In Hawaii, it occurs in disturbed usually mesic habitats, including roadsides, pastures, urban sites, and disturbed mesic and wet forest (Wagner et al. 1999). In the Great Plains, it usually occurs in moist areas and is a weed in lawns, along roads, and in ditches (Great Plains Flora Association 1986). In the Intermountain Region, it is a weed of gardens, lawns, and irrigated areas (Cronquist et al. 1977). In Michigan, it occurs on roadsides, lawns, waste ground, trails in woods, clearings, shores, and stream banks (Voss 1972). In lawns, cultivated grounds, and waste places in moist rich soil (Muenscher 1955). Poa annua also occurs in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and in Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In California, it is found at low elevations especially near the coast including in Channel Islands National Park (Haubensak and Smyth 1999). It is not known where Poa annua occurs within these parks.

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: It already occurs in every U.S. state (Kartesz 1999) and is apparently already widespread in every state. However, it occurs in disturbed areas (Muenscher 1955). Disturbed areas are not decreasing, therefore it is assumed, it is not decreasing.

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Occurs in every U.S. state (Kartesz 1999). Abundant in moist soil nearly throughout the U.S. (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). In California, it occurs in every floristic province (Baldwin et al. 2004). Presumeably, it currently occupies at least 31% of its potential range in the U.S. (inferred from USDA 1990).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Seed is dispersed by wind and rain, birds, mud on shoes, hooves, implements, and on car tires (Hutchinson and Seymour 1982). Little potential for long distance dispersal in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and in Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team 2001). There is conflicting information but presume that there is infrequent long-distance disperal.

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High/Low significance
Comments: It occurs in disturbed areas (Muenscher 1955). Disturbed areas are not decreasing, therefore it is assumed, it is not stable or decreasing.

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: Poa annua is a pioneer species and is most characteristic of unstable and disturbed situations (Hutchinson and Seymour 1982). It is abundant in moist soil nearly throughout the U.S., and is often a lawn weed (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). It occurs in lawns, cultivated grounds, and waste places in moist rich soil (Muenscher 1955). In Kentucky, it is listed as a lesser threat which is defined as exotic plant species which seem to principally spread and remain in disturbed corridors, not readily invading natural areas (Kentucky EPPC 2000). In Hawaii, it occurs in disturbed usually mesic habitats, including roadsides, pastures, urban sites, and disturbed mesic and wet forest (Wagner et al. 1999). In the Great Plains, it usually occurs in moist areas and is a weed in lawns, along roads, and in ditches (Great Plains Flora Association 1986). In the Intermountain Region, it is a weed of gardens, lawns, and irrigated areas (Cronquist et al. 1977). In Michigan, it occurs on roadsides, lawns, waste ground, trails in woods, clearings, shores, and stream banks (Voss 1972). Poa annua occurs in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Grand Canyon National Park, and Channel Islands National Park (Haubensak and Smyth 1999; APRS Implementation Team 2001). In Grand Canyon National Park, it is found on sites disturbed within the last 10 years, is associated with early successional species and shows little or no invasion of native communities (APRS Implementation Team 2001). It is considered a poor competitor in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: Occurs in every Canadian province except Franklin and Keewatin (Kartesz 1999). In Ontario, Poa annua occurs on moist paths in parks, along city streets, in lawns, and disturbed areas (Dore and McNeill 1980). In British Columbia, it occurs in dry to moist waste areas, lawns, and gardens in the lowland and montane zone (Douglas et al. 2001). It is nearly cosmopolitan (Hutchinson and Seymour 1982) but seems to occur in similar habitats in other countries it has invaded.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Moderate significance
Comments: Seeds remain viable in the soil for a long time; 85% of seeds remained viable after 6 years in the laboratory (Hutchinson and Seymour 1982). Seeds remain viable in the soil for 1 to 5 years in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and more than 5 years in Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team 2001). Under ideal conditions, seed production may exceed 20,000 seeds per plant per year (Hutchinson and Seymour 1982). The number of seeds per plant in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is less than 1000 (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In Grand Canyon National Park, the number of seeds per plant is more than 1000 (APRS Implementation Team 2001). Poa annua has a range of growth and flowering habits (Haubensak and Smyth 1999). In Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore it reproduces only by seed (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In Grand Canyon National Park it reproduces vegetatively and by seed with vegetative reproduction resulting in a moderate increase in the population size (APRS Implementation Team 2001). It may reproduces more than once per year (Haubensak and Smyth 1999; APRS Implementation Team 2001). There is some conflicting information but apparently Poa annua strongly exhibits at least two agressive characteristics.

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: High/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Small patches can be weeded early in the spring; more extensive areas should be mowed close and frequently to preven seed forrmtion Poa annua is able to survive low mowing heights (less than 1 inch) and still reseed (Cudney et al. 2003). Seeds remain viable in the soil for a long time; 85% of seeds remained viable afte 6 years in the laboratory (Hutchinson and Seymour 1982). Several herbicides can be used to control it (Cudney et al. 2003). In Alabama, Poa annua has evolved resistance to Group C1/5 herbicides including simazine in pastures (Heap 2003).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Seeds remain viable in the soil for a long time; 85% of seeds remained viable afte 6 years in the laboratory (Hutchinson and Seymour 1982). Seeds remain viable in the soil for 1 to 5 years in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and more than 5 years in Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team 2001).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:High/Low significance
Comments: Control measures are likely to cause moderate impacts to the community in Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team 2001).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:High/Low significance
Comments: It is considered a troublesome weed in lawns because it tends to grow faster than other grasses and once mature dies, resulting in brown spots in the lawn (Whitson 1996). Presumeably, accessibility problems are not severe.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Alien plants ranking system (APRS) Implementation Team. 2001a. Alien plants ranking system version 7.1. Southwest Exotic Plant Information Clearinghouse, Flagstaff, AZ. Online. Available: http://www.usgs.nau.edu/swepic/ (accessed 2004).

  • Cronquist, A., A.H. Holmgren, N.H. Holmgren, J.L. Reveal, and P.K. Holmgren. 1977. Intermountain flora: vascular plants of the intermountain West, U.S.A. Vol. Six. Monocotyledons. Columbia Univ. Press, New York. 584 pp.

  • Cudney, D. W., C. L. Elmore, and V. A. Gibeault. 2003. Annual Bluegrass. Integrated Pest Management for Home Gardeners and Landscape Professionals. Publication Number 7464. Pest Notes.Revised April 2003. IPM Education and Publications, University of California Statewide IPM Program. Online. Available: http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/filelibrary/1808/10868.pdf (accessed 24 March 2004).

  • Dore, W.G. and J. McNeill. 1980. Grasses of Ontario. Monograph 26, Agriculture Canada, Research Branch, Biosystematics Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario. 566 pp.

  • Dore, W.G., and J. McNeill. 1980. Grasses of Ontario. Research Branch, Agriculture Cananda, Ottawa. 566 pp.

  • Douglas, G.W., D. Meidinger, and J. Pojar, editors. 2001. The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia. Volume 7. Monocotyledons (Orchidaceae through Zosteraceae). British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Victoria.

  • Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Great Plains Flora Association (R.L. McGregor, coordinator; T.M. Barkley, ed., R.E. Brooks and E.K. Schofield, associate eds.). 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 1392 pp.

  • Haubensak, K., and A. Smyth. 1999. Factsheet for Poa annua Annual bluegrass Poaceae. Prepared by University of California at Berkeley, for Channel Islands National Park. 11-99. Online. Available: http://www.usgs.nau.edu/SWEPIC/factsheets/Poa_annua.pdf (accessed 24 March 2004).

  • Heap, I. 2003. The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. Supported by the Herbicide Resistance Action Committee (HRAC), the North American Herbicide Resistance Action Committee (NAHRAC), and the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA). Online. Available: www.weedscience.com (accessed 2004).

  • Hutchinson, C. S., and G. B. Seymour. 1982. Biological Flora of the British Isles Poa annua L. Journal of Ecology 70(3): 887-901.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2000. Kentucky exotic pest plant council invasive exotic plant list. Available: http://www.exoticpestplantcouncil.org/ky/list.htm. (Accessed 2004.)

  • Meades, S.J. & Hay, S.G; Brouillet, L. 2000. Annotated Checklist of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador. Memorial University Botanical Gardens, St John's NF. 237pp.

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  • Wagner, W.L., D.R. Herbst, and S.H. Sohmer. 1999. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. Revised edition. Volumes 1 and 2. Univ. Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 1919 pp.

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