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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Banff Bluegrass - Poa laxa ssp. banffiana

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G2
State Rank: S1
State Threat Score: No Known Threats

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
Banff Bluegrass is a small, tuft-forming perennial with flowering stems that stand 8-25 cm tall and grow intermingled with shorter vegetative shoots. The leaves are 1-3 mm wide and have flat or folded blades and tips shaped like the prow of a boat. Spikelets are borne in a narrow, somewhat loose, compoundly branched inflorescence which is 2.5-8 cm long. The spikelets are strongly compressed, and each consists of 2 glumes which enclose 2-5 florets. The second glume is about the same length as or slightly longer than the lemma of the lowest floret, which is 3-4.6 mm long. The lemmas are distinctly hairy on the keel and lateral veins but lack cobwebby hairs at the base.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
N. Rocky Mtns. Alta., Sask., and MT.

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)

North-facing mudstone slopes in the alpine zone.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
    Alpine Systems

Threats or Limiting Factors
Threat impact not assigned because threats are not known (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • 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.
    • Soreng, R.J. 1991. Notes on new infraspecific taxa and hybrids in North American Poa (Poaceae). Phytologia 71(5):390-413.
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Citation for data on this website:
Banff Bluegrass — Poa laxa ssp. banffiana.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from