FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Poa pratensis, Smooth Meadow-grass

Poa pratensis; Smooth Meadow-grass. As a Poa species the Smooth Meadow-grass has spikelets with glumes that are so-called keel-shaped. The meaning of this is that the glumes have a rather angular compression along the midrib where many other panicle-grasses have neatly rounded shaped glumes. The Smooth Meadow-grass is a very variable species that can be 10 to 90 cm tall. Another species which resembles the Smooth Meadow-grass is the Rough Meadow-grass (P. trivialis). They can be differentiated by two characteristics, ie. (1) the Rough has a long ligule (more than 5mm) where it is so small on the Smooth that it seems missing. The second differentiating characteristic is that when one glides with two fingers downwards along the stem the Rough, indeed, feels rough and the Smooth feels smooth.

The Smooth Meadow-grass is very common, growing both in the lowlands and suitable regions of the highland. In the lowlands it is a species of relative dry grass fields (both fertilized and non-fertilized) whereas in the highlands it is more confined to wetter soils.

The Smooth Meadow-grass is a member of the grass family (Poaceae, also known as Gramineae). The Icelandic name of the Smooth Meadow-grass is Vallarsveifgras.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise

Inflorescence of the Smooth Meadow-grass
Leaf of the Smooth Meadow-grass showing lack of ligule between sheath and blade
Blowup of spikelets: note the boat-shaped glumes with the midrib being the "keel" in the lower two spikelets.
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tiny/missing ligule between sheath and blade

Boat-shaped glumes, the midrib "keel"-like.

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