This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
The habitat of this grass is springs and edges of alpine streams, damp grassy places, on high mountains. The plant has the grass habit. The stem is creeping, then erect, stout, smooth, narrow above. The leaves are soft, flat, the upper usually short, broad, one-third as long as the swollen sheath, the upper longer than the leaf. The ligule is blunt and short. The panicle is short, blunt, egg-shaped, oblong, loose, not more than an inch long, dense, the branches short, silky, with 4-6 spikelets. The empty glumes are egg-shaped, silky, shining, acute, the keel fringed with silky hairs. The flowering glume is blunt, hairless.
The glumes are united below, suddenly long-pointed, egg-shaped. The awn is very short or absent, not longer than the palea, or projecting one-third. The anthers are yellow, linear. The plant is 6-18 in. high, flowering in July and August, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this species is wet alpine moors, alpine springs and rills, and damp alpine pastures. The plant has the grass habit. The stem is solitary, smooth, ascending, rigid, creeping below. The upper leaf-sheaths are swollen, the lower closely pressed. The ligule is short. The panicle is egg-shaped or oblong, cylindrical, dull-purple and green. The empty glumes equal the rigid, rough awn, the keel being hairy, and are blunt, hairless, or fringed with hairs on the back. The plant is 6-18 in., flowering in July and August, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this grass is wet rocks, mountains. The plant has the grass habit, and is shorter than the Tufted Hair Grass. The leaves are narrow, channelled, the margins inrolled, smooth. The panicle is close, with smooth branches. The awn is inserted at the middle, and is shorter. The glumes are smooth on the midrib. The florets are often viviparous. The plant is 6-9 in. high.
This is a native species, occurring on mountains and alpine cliffs. The plant has the grass habit. The rootstock is somewhat creeping. The leaves are stiff, bluish-green (hence g/auca and ccesia). The upper sheath is as long as the leaf, folded and slightly bent in, tapered at the top. The ligule is blunt. The uppermost knot is near the base of the stem. The panicle is slender, erect. The spikelets are large, egg-shaped, with 2-3 acute, free flowers, the lowest flowers longer than the large glume. The lower palea is 5-veined, 3 being hairy. The plant is 6-12 in. high, flowering from July to August, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this species is rocks on alps, lofty mountains. The plant has the grass habit. The root is fibrous. The plant is limp, smooth, pale bluish-green. The stems are flattened, prostrate below. The leaves are short, linear, obliquely blunt-pointed, the upper longer than the sheath, folded, bent inward, tapered at the point. The ligules are long, torn, acute. The upper sheath is longer than the leaf. The uppermost node is covered. The panicle is oblong, more or less ovate, loose, more or less one-sided, slightly drooping, the branches solitary or divided into two, smooth, rarely rough. The spikelets are viviparous, green or purple, of 3-4 webbed florets. The flowering glumes are 2-4, with hairy keel and margins, the nerves (3-5) not prominent. The empty glumes are long-pointed with membranous tips. The plant is 4-9 in. high, flowering in July and August, and is a herbaceous perennial.
Alpine Poa (Poa alpina, L.) - The habitat of this species is rocks, lofty mountains. The plant has the grass habit. It is smooth. The stout rootstock is tufted and creeping. The stems are stout, smooth, round in section, covered with the sheaths of last year. The leaves are broad, firm, the tip rounded, folded, short, stiff, rigid, keeled, shortly blunt-pointed, the edges thick and rough, the upper shorter than the sheath. The persistent lower sheaths are white, broad, membranous, leafless, the upper smooth, flattened. The long ligule is pointed, torn, acute. The uppermost node is exposed. The panicle is loose, pyramidal, oblong, erect, spreading in flower, the branches 2-nate. The spikelets are green and purplish, 4-5 flowered, ovate, often viviparous. The flowering glumes are 3-9, with a downy keel and margin, with 3-5 obscure veins. The tips are membranous, webbed, broad. The plant is 4-12 in. high, flowering in July and August, and is a herbaceous perennial.