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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Short-leaved Bluegrass - Poa arnowiae

Status Under Review
Undetermined Origin

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: SU
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status


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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Moved to Status Under Review pending further taxonomic clarification of Poa anowiae in relation to Poa wheeleri and the previously used name Poa curta. Additional review of Montana specimens is also needed.
General Description
Short-leaved Bluegrass is a rhizomatous perennial with stems that are 3-6 dm tall. Leaf blades are short, flat, often drooping, and 3-5 mm wide with prow-like tips. Leaf sheaths surrounding the stem are glabrous and closed nearly to the top. There is a lance-shaped white membrane, or ligule, that is 1-2 mm long and located where the blade meets the sheath. Foliage is glabrous or slightly roughened. The spikelets are 6-9 mm long and are borne on branch tips in a small, open inflorescence. Each spikelet has 2 glumes at the base enfolding the 3-4 flowers. Lemmas are ca. 5 mm long, strongly keeled, prominently nerved, and nearly glabrous. Each flower has both fertile stamens and a pistil.

Fruiting by late June - July.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Poais an extremely difficult genus to distinguish. A technical manual and hand lens or microscope are essential for identification. Poa nervosa is similar and occurs in the same habitats, but nearly all of its flowers lack stamens.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Sparsely vegetated soil of Douglas-fir forest floor in the montane zone.

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P. and P. F. Stickney. 1994. Noteworthy collections: Montana. Madrono 41:228-231.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Short-leaved Bluegrass — Poa arnowiae.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from