Poa laxa Haenke ssp. fernaldiana (Nannf.) N. Hylander
Habitat: Summits of higher mountains. [Alpine or subalpine (non-forested, upland)]
Range: Labrador south to the alpine regions of northern New England and New York.
Aids to Identification: Wavy bluegrass grows in loose bunches with no rhizomes (underground, horizontal stems). The stems are weak and grow to 10-25 cm in height. The flower cluster is loose and few-flowered. Spikelets are about 5 mm long with lemmas 3-3.5 mm long and 2-4 florets per spikelet. As with other species of Poa, the floral scales lack slender bristles (awns). All of the other alpine grasses in Maine are awned. P. fernaldiana may be confused with P. glauca, but the 2 can be separated based on habitat. P. fernaldiana is found in alpine habitats and has fewer (2) panicle branches per node.
Ecological characteristics: The only known occurrence of this species in Maine is found on steep walled ledges on Mount Katahdin.
Phenology: Fruits July - August.
Synonyms: None noted.
Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 1 town(s) in the following county(ies): Piscataquis.
Reason(s) for rarity: Disjunct from principal range; limited alpine habitat.
Conservation considerations: Populations could be threatened by heavy recreational (hiking) use.