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Weed Identification

annual bluegrass



Scientific Name

Poa annua

Other Common Names:

walk grass

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Poa annua var. aquatica
Poa annua var. reptans


It is a clump-forming winter annual grass. It reproduces by seed that can germinate any time of year but predominately in the fall and less so in the spring and summer. Seed germination peaks soon after air temperature drops below 75 degrees F in early fall. Annual bluegrass produces white seedheads in spring and early summer and can decrease aesthetic value of turfgrass. Annual bluegrass is well known for its ability to tolerate low mowing heights on golf greens.


Leaves are light green, lack hairs, lack auricles, are narrow with pronounced mid-vein, and have a membraneous ligule that is pointed. Leaves are creased because they are folded in the butt and leaf tips are boat-shaped , which is characteristic of the genus Poa. It is also common for annual bluegrass leaves to have wavy margins toward the leaf base. Upon close inspection, leaves have two indented valleys along each side of the mid-vein which are offset from the center of the leaf. These double indentations are often referred to as railroad tracks.

Identifying Characteristics

Boat-shaped leaf tip, pointed membranous ligule, folded in the bud, lacks auricles, and does not produce rhizomes or stolons.

Flower Seed Head

Seedhead is an open panicle in the shape of a pyramid. Seedheads are borne on short stalks and are white. Often plants will impart a white sheen to infested turfgrass areas during the spring when seedhead production peaks. Each spikelet in the panicle is about 4 to 6 mm long and produces 2 to 6 flowers/seed.

Seed Fruit

Flowers can produce viable seed within one day of germination. Seed mature to a light brown color and are typically 2 to 4 mm long and 2 mm wide.

Where Found

A common weed of fine turfgrass, annual bluegrass actually ranges from extremely wet to extremely dry and very cold to very hot environments. The plant is found on every continent but thrives in cool humid regions. Numerous biotypes of annual bluegrass have been selected by environmental conditions and human practices due to the enormous reproductive and adaptive potential of this species. Annual bluegrass is a desirable turfgrass in some cool-humid areas and tolerates close mowing as on golf putting greens

Leaf Hair on Upper Surface

no hairs

Leaf Arrangement

folded in bud

Mature Leaf Width

less than 5 mm


flat or oval



Life Cycle

winter annual


not present



Plant Type