Poa: meadow grass
Poa foliosa (Hook.f.) Hook.f.
Vascular - Native
Festuca foliosa Hook.f.; Poa foliosa (Hook.f.) Hook.f. var. foliosa; Festuca foliosa var. â Hook.f.
Endemic. New Zealand: Stewart (north-eastern Titi Islands), Solander,, Antipodes, Auckland, Campbell, and Macquarie (Australian Territory but part of the New Zealand Botanical region)
Coastal, usually near sea bird nesting grounds, often on steep slopes, sometimes in turf near shore.
Dioecious, robust, green tussocks up to 1.5 m tall, arising from short, narrow, woody stolons, with shoots covered at base by abundant fibrous remnants of sheaths. Branching extravaginal; leaf-blades persistent. Leaf-sheath light brown, coriaceous, glabrous, closely striate, keel prominent above. Ligule 1-3 mm, apically glabrous, entire, rounded, abaxially finely scabrid. Leaf-blade 150-500 x 1-6 mm, coriaceous, tough, flat, abaxially smooth with prominent midrib and many lateral ribs, adaxially short-scabrid, bearing two prominent ridges along centre; margins thickened, smooth, tip entire, smooth, semi-pungent. Culm 200-600 mm, internodes glabrous. Panicle 100-250 mm, dense, with all branches, except the longer ones, bearing spikelets almost to base; rachis and branches mostly smooth. Spikelets 5.5-9.0 mm, 3-6-flowered, light greenish brown. Glumes subequal, long-acuminate, membranous, except for thickened nerves, smooth, but with a few prickle-teeth on nerves above and occasionally on margins; lower 3-6 mm, 1-3-nerved, narrow-lanceolate, upper 4.0-6.5 mm, 3-nerved, narrow elliptic-lanceolate. Lemma 5-7 mm, 5-nerved, acute or with midnerve very shortly excurrent, scabrid except near base, midnerve ciliate to more than halfway, outer lateral nerves, internerves, and margins with minute hairs in lower 1/3. Palea 3.5-4.5 mm, keel rather densely ciliate-scabrid, interkeel and flanks with sparse minute hairs and prickle-teeth. Callus with large tuft of crinkled hairs just below midnerve of lemma. Rachilla c.0.5 mm, glabrous. Lodicules 0.4-0.7 mm, rarely hair-tipped. Dioecious: male with anthers 2.0-3.3 mm, gynoecium 0; female with pollen-sterile anthers c.0.6-1.0 mm, often on long filaments; stigma-styles c.2 mm; seed 2 mm; rarely perfect.
Similar to Poa tennantiana Petrie which is a superficially similar southern New Zealand robust grass of coastal areas, especially near sea bird nesting grounds. Poa tennantiana differs from P. foliosa by its monoecious rather than dioecious habit, yellow-green rather than green leaves, by the lower leaf-sheaths scabrid between the nerves, rather than smooth, and by the glabrous rather than hairy (hairs crinkly in a prominent tuft) callus
October - December
November - April
Easily grown from fresh seed and rooted pieces. Dislikes humidity and will not flower or thrive in warm climates.
Not Threatened. Listed because it is a narrow range, offshore island endemic. It is abundant in its known locations with no obvious threats.
2n = 28
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Description modified from Edgar, E.;
Connor, H.E. 2000: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. V. Grasses. Christchurch,
Manaaki Whenua Press. 650 pp.
This page last updated on 15 Nov 2010