Poa secunda

From Puget Prairie Plants
  • Scientific Name: Poa secunda
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Common Names: big bluegrass, Sandberg bluegrass, Sandberg's bluegrass, Nevada bluegrass
  • Synonyms/Misapplications: Poa fulvescens, Poa tenuifolia

Photo by Robert L. Carr, also featured on Main Page


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Lilianae
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Poa L.
Species: Poa secunda J. Presl
  • Poa fulvescens Trin.
  • Poa tenuifolia Nutt. ex S. Watson



Densely tufted perennial herb. Leaf sheaths are nearly open, generally truncate to acuminate. Variable structure in terms of stiffness and margin flatness. Inflorescence is more or less one-sided, generally appressed to rachis to ascending. The spikelet is generally more or less cylindrical, the callus hairless or with a small ring of hairs. Lemma weakly keeled to rounded. [2]

Bloom Period



From Southeastern Alaska across southern Canada, although more sporadically east of the Rockies. Throughout the western states of the US and Great Plains, infrequently in New Mexico and Arizona.[4]


Sagebrush deserts, mountain meadows, open forest, lower alpine slopes, saline wetlands, chaparral, prairies.[4][5]

It grows well in rich soils but most commonly grows in rocky, shallow, or sandy soils.[4]


Documentation of Newe use of seeds as food.[6]

Poa secunda greens up in the spring earlier than other grasses, and is a desirable forage for grazing animals, and increases under grazing pressure. It regenerates after fire, and because of early growth, is often dormant when fires occur.[4]


Reproduces by tillering and by seed. P. secunda is wind-pollinated and self-fertile, and can also produce viable seeds without pollination.[4]

Photo Gallery


  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=41103#null
  2. Robert J. Soreng 2012, Poa secunda, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=38882, accessed on June 02, 2020.
  3. WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from https://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/taxon.php?Taxon=Poa%20secunda
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Howard, Janet L. 1997. Poa secunda. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/graminoid/poasec/all.html [2020, June 2]
  5. Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  6. Native American Ethnobotany Database. Retrieved from http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=poa+secunda