Poa atropurpurea

Common Names:
San Bernardino Bluegrass
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Sula Vanderplank
Available for Sponsorship

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

The conservation of Poa atropurpurea is not currently sponsored.
Sula Vanderplank contributed to this Plant Profile.


Poa atropurpurea (San Bernardino Bluegrass) is a member of the grass family (Poaceae) that is dioecious (separate male and female plants), growing as a tufted perennial with creeping rhizomes (Soreng 1993). This species is endemic to southern California and occurs in the Big Bear region of the San Bernardino Mountains, and in the Laguna and Palomar Mountains of San Diego County (CNDDB 2007). It often co-occurs with another endangered species Taraxacum californicum (California dandelion).

This species is differentiated from Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) by its shorter, narrower inflorescences, contracted panicles, and glabrous floral features (Soreng 1993). Poa atropurpurea panicles are purple while the flowers are open and flowers earlier in the year (Apr June) than P. pratensis which often occurs at the same locations and it thought to hybridize with P. atropurpurea (USDA FS 2007). Poa atropurpurea is known from less than 20 location and was listed as Federally endangered in 1998. Critical habitat designations for this species were recently proposed (Eliason, 2007).

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research