Cool-season grasses

There are four major genera of cool-season grasses used as turf and two less commonly used genera. For each genus the species are listed by scientific name followed by the English common name in parentheses. The scientific name of plants is almost always a binomial with two parts, a generic name which is always capitalized followed by a specific epithet which is never capitalized, governed by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. Italicization of scientific names is purely a typographic convention to indicate the non-English nature of the name, and is not required. English common names of true grasses (species of Poaceae), when combined with the group name “grass,” are written in a compound word without a hyphen (Kartesz and Thieret, 1991). Common names are capitalized only when derived from proper nouns such as surnames and place names, and canonizations. The genera and their species are:

Agrostis spp. (bentgrasses): Agrostis canina (velvet bentgrass), Agrostis capillaris (colonial bentgrass), Agrostis castellana (highland bentgrass), Agrostis gigantea (redtop), Agrostis stolonifera (creeping bentgrass)

Festuca spp. (fescues): Festuca ovina (sheep fescue), Festuca trachyphylla (hard fescue), Chewing’s fescue, Festuca rubra subsp. commutata (Chewing’s fescue), Festuca rubra subsp. rubra (red fescue)

Lolium spp.: Lolium arundinaceum (syn. Festuca arundinacea, tall fescue), Lolium multiflorum (annual ryegrass), Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass)

Poa spp. (bluegrasses): Poa annua (annual bluegrass), Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass), Poa compressa (Canadian bluegrass), Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass), Poa supina (supina bluegrass), Poa trivialis (roughstalk bluegrass)

Additionally, there are two other cool-season grasses in other genera, Puccinellia distans (alkaligrass) and Agropyron cristatum (crested wheatgrass), which are occasionally used as turf.

Because of photorespiration in warm temperature, no cool-season turfgrass performs well in subtropical conditions except for temporary use, such as perennial ryegrass used for overseeding high traffic sports fields in the winter only.

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