Scientific Name: Poa bulbosa

Common Name: bulbous bluegrass

Habit: Bulbous bluegrass is a cool-season perennial that grows from basal bulbs and form densely tufts that grows from 6 inches to 2 ft tall.

Leaves: Leaf blades are narrow (1-3mm wide) and 2 to 6 inches long, flat or loosely rolled with a white membranous ligule (3mm). The leaves are green to grayish blue in color and hairless.

Identifying Characteristics: When the bulblets are present bulbous bluegrass can easily be identified. The bulbs lay dormant until the weather begins to cool, leaves emerge from the bulbs and grows from fall to early spring. A distinguishing characteristic is that the stems are thickened and bulb-like at the base. Bulbous bluegrass is similar to onion and garlic in that it produces aerial bulblets. However, unlike onion and garlic bulbous bluegrass has flattened leaves and stems are not hollow.

Flower Seed Head: It produces 2 to 5 inch long panicles. The flowers develop into leafy bulblets that turn dark purple at the base. The dark purple bulblets contain a rudimentary plant that does not develop until after an extended dormant period. Blooming period is early spring.

Seed Fruit: Fruit is a small bulblet that has one or more small basal leaves attached. The leaves are green and narrowly shaped and grow up to 1 inch long.

Where Found: It is common in the northeastern U.S. and Oklahoma to North Dakota. It is found in disturbed sites, roadsides, abandoned fields, woodlands, and grasslands. It is best adapted for shallow soils, and tolerates a wide range of environmental conditions. It does best in full sun to light shade, moist to dry conditions and any soil type. It thrives in cool weather; however, when it turns hot it turns brown and goes dormant.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: folded in bud

  • Hair surface: no hairs

  • Ligule: membrane

  • Length: more than 3 mm

  • Seed head: panicle

  • Width: less than 5 mm

  • Grass stem: round