CPC Plant Profile: Bog Bluegrass
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Plant Profile

Bog Bluegrass (Poa paludigena)

  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Poaceae
  • State: OH, PA, VA, WI, WV, DE, IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, NC, NY
  • Nature Serve ID: 136481
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

This species is a small, often overlooked, easily misidentified grass. It frequents wet, cool habitats where it associates with alders or other shrubs and small herbaceous plants, sometimes growing on mossy hummocks, until larger species move in and increase shade over the area. It has no rhizomes, only fibrous roots, and the weak and slender stem often falls over. It normally grows to a height of 2-6 decimeters tall. The leaves are 1-2 millimeters wide and 10 centimeters long. The distinguishing characteristics are within the flowers, spikelets with cobweb-like hairs at their bases situated above the middle of the paired branches, when it blooms in late May and into June. Identification often requires microscopic evaluation to distinguish it from its close relatives

Participating Institutions
Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Poa paludigena has a very narrow habitat preference in fragile wetland community. Over 130 docummented populations.

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

Drainage of habitat for agriculture or other modifications Grazing Overgrowth through natural succession

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

This number is difficult to derive because of the nature of the species. Some sites have records of it, but no one has seen it for 50 years. It is unknown whether this lack of information may be because no one has been looking, or because it is actually gone. Illinois presumed extirpated only collection is from a swamp at Elgin in Kane County, before 1900. No longer listed. (IESPB 1999) Indiana 14 counties (INDNR 1999) Iowa listed at two sites managed by The Nature Conservancy, but the species is not listed on the official list of Iowas Threatened and Endangered Species. It is noted in the report by the Natural Resource Commission Iowa General Assembly, 12/29/99 as an Iowa Special Concern Species which is defined as any species about which problems of status or distribution are suspected, but not documented, and for which no special protection is afforded under this rule."" (ITESPP 2001) (Pearson 2001) Michigan 14 counties (MNFI 2001) Minnesota unknown number of counties or sites - listed as threatened New York 10 counties - 4 confirmed, 6 probable, which means a specimen has been collected, but it is 20+ years old (Young 2001) North Carolina 3 counties - 2 recently confirmed, 1 with historic record of 50+ years (Cantrell 2001) Ohio 5 counties (ODNR 2001) Pennsylvania unknown number of counties or sites, state ranking of S3 means typically 21 to 100 occurrences (PNDI 2001) Virginia 8 counties (VDCR 2001) West Virginia unknown number of counties or sites listed as S1. (WVDNR 2000) Unknown status, may be extirpated (Sargent 2001) Wisconsin up to 43 sites within 19 counties (WSH 2001)

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

No research known

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

No management known

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

Survey remaining historical occurrences

Dawn M. Gerlica
  • 01/01/2010

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Taxon Poa paludigena
Authority Fernald & Wiegand
Family Poaceae
CPC Number 3544
ITIS 41150
Common Names bog bluegrass | marsh bluegrass | marsh spear grass | Patterson's bluegrass | slender marsh bluegrass
Associated Scientific Names Poa paludigena | Poa sylvestris var. palustris
Distribution From the alder thickets, sedge meadows, and tamarack bogs of Wisconsin, to the algific talus slopes of Iowa, to the bogs, wet meadows, and wet woods of Ohio, to the pine barren and other wetlands of N
State Rank
State State Rank
Delaware S1
Iowa S2
Illinois SX
Indiana S3
Michigan S2
Minnesota S2
North Carolina S1
New York S1
Ohio S3
Pennsylvania S3
Virginia S2
Wisconsin S3
West Virginia S1

This is a wetland species found in bogs, swamps, wet woods, wet meadows, and along streams. Often times it is found in association with moss tussocks of Sphagnum species or other types, and alder, Alnus sp. This species prefers open situations to slightly shaded, but seems to be absent in heavily shaded areas. Often found in association with any of the following species: Alnus incana, Alnus rugosa, Aster lanceolatus, Aster puniceus, Aster umbellatus, Calamagrostis canadensis, Cypripedium reginae, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Galium asprellum Geum rivale, Impatiens capensis, Larix laricina, Onoclea sensibilis, Polygonum sagittatum, Rhamnus alnifolius, Sphagnum sp., and Thelypteris palustris. (Pearson 2001)

Ecological Relationships

No known relationships

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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