Scientific Name:
Poa L., Sp. Pl. 67 (1753)
  • Austrofestuca (Tzvelev) E.B.Alexeev (1976)
  • = Festuca subgen. Austrofestuca Tzvelev
Type Taxon:
Vernacular Name(s):
Blue grass

Tufted annuals or perennials, sometimes forming large tussocks, often rhizomatous or stoloniferous; branching intra- or extravaginal. Leaf-sheath open or closed, membranous to coriaceous. Ligule mem-branous, entire or rarely lacerate, sometimes ciliate, sometimes reduced to a truncate, minutely ciliate rim. Leaf-blade persistent or disarticulating at ligule, flat, folded, sometimes setaceous or filiform, margins sometimes inrolled, coriaceous, or soft and flaccid, tip hooded, or finely acute to ± pungent. Culm unbranched above. Inflorescence an open or contracted panicle. Spikelets 2-several-flowered, pedicelled, laterally compressed, uppermost florets reduced, disarticulation above glumes and between florets; rachilla prolonged; ☿, dioecious, gynomonoecious. Glumes subequal or unequal, usually < adjacent lemmas, keeled, acute to subobtuse; lower 1–3-nerved, upper 3–(5)-nerved. Lemma (3)–5–(7)-nerved, keeled, obtuse to acute to acuminate, awnless but midnerve occasionally slightly excurrent, nerves shortly hairy in lower half, or short scabrid, or glabrous, internerves variously short hairy, scabrid, glabrous, or occasionally papillose. Palea ≈ lemma, keels and interkeel scabrid to ciliate, or glabrous. Callus short, with loose woolly hairs or glabrous. Lodicules 2, glabrous, occasionally hair-tipped. Stamens 3. Gynoecium: ovary glabrous; styles 2, free; stigmata plumose. Caryopsis ellipsoid; embryo < ⅓ length of caryopsis; hilum punctiform or shortly elliptic, < ½ length of caryopsis.

[From: Edgar and Connor (2000) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 5 (second printing).]

Indigenous (Non-endemic)
Number of species in New Zealand within Poa L.
Indigenous (Endemic)34
Indigenous (Non-endemic)4
Exotic: Fully Naturalised11
Exotic: Casual2
Edgar, E. 1986: Poa L. in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 24: 425–503.
Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2010: Flora of New Zealand Volume V Grasses. Edition 2. Manaaki Whenua Press.
Linnaeus, C. 1753: Species Plantarum. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm.
Mabberley, D.J. 2008: Mabberley's plant book, a portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses. Edition 3. Cambridge University Press.
Soreng, R.J.; Gillespie, L.J.; Jacobs, S.W.L. 2009: Saxipoa and Sylvipoa - two new genera and a new classification for Australian Poa (Poaceae: Poinae). Australian Systematic Botany 22: 401–412.