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CANADIAN BLUE GRASS (Poa compressa L.) Plate 9; Seed, Plate 26, Fig. 15.

Other English names: Canada Blue Grass, English Blue Grass, Wire Grass, Creeping Poa, Smaller Blue Grass, Virginia Blue Grass.

Botanical description: Canadian Blue Grass is perennial. The underground rootstock is extensively creeping, sending out numerous branches in all directions. Where a plant has an opportunity to develop undisturbed for some years, it will generally form a circular patch. The overground part of such a patch consists of scattered stems and leafy shoots, making a dense sod more like a continuous mat than a loose tuft. The stems are from one to two feet tall, often knee-bent at the base. They are wiry, few leaved and strongly flattened. No other cultivated species of the genus Poa having flattened stems, Canadian Blue Grass may be recognized by this peculiarity. The leaves are from one to three inches long, not as broad and numerous as those of Kentucky Blue Grass. They are bluish-green, sometimes quite glaucous. The flowers are in a panicle unlike that of Kentucky Blue Grass. In the latter species it is generally broadly pyramidal, the lower branches being numerous at each joint. When in bloom the panicle of Canadian Blue Grass is generally oblong, or narrowly egg-shaped, the branches being short and only one or two from each joint. When flowering is over, the panicle becomes contracted and narrow with erect branches. The spikelets are like those of Kentucky Blue Grass and fertilization takes place in the same way.


Geographical distribution: Canadian Blue Grass is indigenous to all European countries and to southwestern Asia. It was introduced into North America and was found in Canada more than a hundred years ago. It is now grown to a considerable extent in southern and central Ontario.


Habitat: It grows naturally in dry and sunny places, along roadsides, on rocks and stony hills, and from the sea level to high up in the mountains. It often occurs in poor, gravelly soil where other plants find it difficult to get a foothold.


Cultural conditions: In Canada, stiff rather sterile clay or clay loam is the soil in which it is preferably grown, often because it makes a fairly good growth where other plants fail to give a yield worth mentioning.

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