Common Name: muttongrass Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Graminoid General: Densely to loosely tufted perennial grass; stems 15-80 cm (usually 30-50 cm), occasionally with slender creeping rhizomes; plants usually dioecious. Vegetative: Sheaths closed for one third their length, terete, smooth or scabrous; ligules 0.2-18 mm, truncate to acuminate, ciliolate or glabrous; blades mostly basal, 1-3 mm wide, 10-20 cm long, moderately thick and firm, usually involute (with rolled margins), api Inflorescence: Panicle 2-12 cm, erect, contracted, oblong, congested with more than 100 spikelets; branches short, 1-8 cm long, with 3-15 spikelets; spikelets 4-8 mm, broadly lanceolate to ovate, laterally compressed, with 2-7 florets; disarticulation above the glumes and below the florets; glumes lanceolate, distinctly keeled, 3-4 mm; lemmas 3-6 mm, lanceolate, distinctly keeled, not cobwebby at base. Ecology: Found on rocky slopes, open woodlands, and forested areas, from 5,000-11,500 ft (1524-3505 m) but occasionally as low as 3,500 ft (1067 m); flowers April-August. Distribution: Throughout western N. Amer. from British Columbia to Manitoba and south to MEX. Notes: This perennial bunchgrass is quite common in the ponderosa pine forests of Northern Arizona. It is distinguished by its mostly basal leaves which are long, narrow, and rolled (involute) with keeled tip; also note the "railroad tracks" (two parallel strongly impressed veins) that run along the upper surface of the blades, and the short flag blade (uppermost blade on the stem just below the panicle), which is 1 cm or less long. Subsp. longiligula is distinguished by the ligule being 2-18 mm long. P. pratensis appears similar to P. fendleriana and can also have veins resembling the "railroad tracks" on the upper leaf surface, but is usually more strongly rhizomatous; has flat or folded, rather than involute (curled) blades; and lemmas with a tuft of long hairs at the base. Ethnobotany: Used ceremonially, seeds parched, ground, boiled, made into dumplings, meal, and feed for horses and sheep. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2010, AHazelton 2015 Etymology: Poa comes from the classical Greek name poa, poie, or poia for "grass" or "pasture grass;" fendleriana honors Augustus Fendler (1813-1883), a German botanical collector in North and Central America.