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(meadow grass), a genus of perennial or, less frequently, annual herbaceous plants of the family Gramineae. The inflorescence is a panicle, and the biflorous or multiflorous spikelets are ovate-lanceolate or broadly lanceolate. There are more than 300 known species of Poa in the frigid and temperate zones; in tropical countries meadow grasses are found only in the mountains. Approximately 100 species are encountered in the USSR. Most species grow in meadows and steppes. Some grow on the tundra (Poa arctica), and others in forests (P. nemoralis), deserts, or semideserts (P. bulbosa). Many perennial species are valuable fodder plants, particularly Kentucky bluegrass (P. pratensis), fowl meadow grass (P. palustris), and bulbous meadowgrass (P. bulbosa).
Kentucky bluegrass, a short, rhizomatous grass, is 30–90 cm tall and has a large number of vegetative, leafy shoots. It forms a dense mat. The leaves are soft and narrow, the panicle is spreading, and the lemmas are covered with woolly hairs. Kentucky bluegrass grows rapidly after grazing. It grows in dry valleys, in lowlands, on river and mountain meadows, and on dried peat bogs. It does not tolerate salinity but is drought resistant and winter-hardy. The plant is used in the cultivation of pastures and lawns. Mixed with other plants in pastures, it is readily eaten by all types of livestock. The yield of hay is 25–28 centners per hectare (ha). One hundred kg of sown hay contains 54 feed units and 5.3 kg of digestible protein; 100 kg of green mass yields 24–25 feed units and 3.5 kg of digestible protein.
Fowl meadow grass, which is up to 120 cm tall, grows rapidly and is used predominantly for haymaking. It yields two cuttings. The grass grows on damp meadows, in river valleys, in meadow swamps, along rivers, in dried waterways, and along forest edges. The hay yield is 90 centners or more per ha. One hundred kg of hay contains 53 feed units and 4.4 kg of digestible protein; 100 kg of green mass contains 26 feed units and 1.5 kg of digestible protein.
Bulbous meadow grass is 10–30 cm tall and has numerous radical leaves and a bulbous thickening at the base of the stem. The paniculate spikelets often form brood bud bulblets. The plant is a typical ephemeroid. It is drought resistant and salt tolerant. The bulbous meadow grass is widespread in arid regions on chernozem, chestnut brown, and gray desert soils, as well as on packed sands. It is eaten by all types of livestock. In years with much precipitation, the plant reaches a height of 50 cm and is used for hay. The average yield of hay is 5–6 centners per ha (in the best years, 12 centners per ha). One hundred kg of hay contain 55 feed units and 5.7 kg of digestible protein; 100 kg of green mass (in the tillering stage) yield 22 feed units and 4.4. kg of digestible protein.
Annual meadow grass (P. annua) is distributed in meadows and weed patches and along roads; it sometimes grows as a weed in gardens.
REFERENCESKormovye rasteniia senokosov i pastbishch SSSR, vol. 1. Edited by I. V. Larin. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
Afanas’eva, M. S. “Miatlik lugovoi.” In Mnogoletnie travy v lugopast-bishchnykh sevooborotakh. Moscow, 1951.
Dem’ianchik, B. I. “Miatlik bolotnyi—tsennoe kormovoe rastenie.” Kor-movaia baza, 1953, no. 1.
N. S. KONIUSHKOV