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rabbitsfoot grass
beard grass
Starr 990514-0703 Polypogon interruptus.jpg
Polypogon interruptus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Pooideae
Genus: Polypogon
Type species
Polypogon monspeliensis
Polypogon sp.

Polypogon is a nearly cosmopolitan genus of plants in the grass family, commonly known beard grass or rabbitsfoot grass.[2][3][4]


Polypogon species vary in appearance; some are erect, while others drape over the ground in waves. Many have soft, fluffy inflorescences that look like rabbit's foot amulets.

Some are introduced species established outside their native ranges.[5] Some of those are considered invasive species and noxious weeds, most notably Polypogon monspeliensis, the annual beard grass.

  1. Polypogon × adscendens Guss. - Italy
  2. Polypogon australis Brongn. - Argentina, Chile incl Juan Fernández Islands
  3. Polypogon chilensis (Kunth) Pilg. - Argentina, Chile incl Juan Fernández Islands, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil
  4. Polypogon elongatus Kunth - USA (CA AZ CO TX), much of Mesoamerica + South America
  5. Polypogon exasperatus (Trin.) Renvoize - Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, southern Brazil
  6. Polypogon fugax Nees ex Steud. - China, Japan, Korea, central + southwestern Asia, Ethiopia, Somalia
  7. Polypogon griquensis (Stapf) Gibbs Russ. & Fish - Namibia, South Africa
  8. Polypogon hissaricus (Roshev.) Bor - Xinjiang, Central Asia, Pakistan, Iran, Himalayas
  9. Polypogon imberbis (Phil.) Johow - Argentina, Chile incl Juan Fernández Islands, Uruguay, southern Brazil
  10. Polypogon interruptus Kunth - British Columbia, western United States (WA to CA + TX), Mexico, south America
  11. Polypogon ivanovae Tzvelev - Xinjiang
  12. Polypogon linearis Trin. - Chile
  13. Polypogon maritimus Willd. - wetlands in Asia, Mediterranean
  14. Polypogon mollis (Thouars) C.E.Hubb. & E.W.Groves - Tristan da Cunha
  15. Polypogon monspeliensis (L.) Desf. - Africa, Eurasia; widely naturalized in North America
  16. Polypogon nilgiricus Kabeer & V.J.Nair - India
  17. Polypogon parvulus Roseng., B.R.Arrill. & Izag. - Uruguay, Argentina
  18. Polypogon pygmeus Tzvelev - Afghanistan
  19. Polypogon schimperianus (Hochst. ex Steud.) Cope - from Ethiopia + Saudi Arabia to Zimbabwe
  20. Polypogon tenellus R.Br. - South Australia, Western Australia
  21. Polypogon tenuis Brongn. - Ascension Island, St. Helena, Namibia, Cape Province
  22. Polypogon viridis (Gouan) Breistr. - central + southwestern Asia, Mediterranean
formerly included[1]

numerous species now regarded as better suited to other genera: Agrostis Alopecurus Brachypodium Chaetium Chaetopogon Gymnopogon Muhlenbergia Pentameris Reynaudia Triniochloa


Polypogon monspeliensis[13] was investigated for its mercury-accumulating properties as a phytoremediation plant. A U.S. NIS—National Institutes of Health funded study showed the plant to take up 110 times more mercury (HgS) than control plant species. This mercury hyperaccumulator sequesters the toxin in its roots in an insoluble form, reducing exposure to ecological receptors in situ and in erosion sediments.[14]


  1. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Desfontaines, René Louiche. 1800. Flora Atlantica 1: 66-67 in Latin
  3. ^ Tropicos, Polypogon Desf.
  4. ^ Flora of China Vol. 22 Page 361 棒头草属 bang tou cao shu Polypogon Desfontaines, Fl. Atlant. 1: 66. 1798.
  5. ^ USDA . accessed 04.12.2012
  6. ^ The Plant List search for Polypogon
  7. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, genere Polypogon Archived 2015-03-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Finot Saldías, V. L., L. Contreras, W. Ulloa, A. E. Marticorena, C. M. Baeza & E. Ruiz. 2013. El género Polypogon (Poaceae: Agrostidinae) en Chile. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 7(1): 169–194
  9. ^ Cabi, E. & M. Doğan. 2012. Poaceae. 690–756. In A. Güner, S. Aslan, T. Ekim, M. Vural & M. T. Babaç (eds.) Türkiye Bitkileri Listesi. Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanik Bahçesi ve Flora Araştırmaları Derneği Yayını, Istanbul
  10. ^ Idárraga-Piedrahita, A., R. D. C. Ortiz, R. Callejas Posada & M. Merello. (eds.) 2011. Flora de Antioquia: Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares 2: 9–939. Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín
  11. ^ Atlas of Living Australia, Polypogon Desf. Beard Grasses
  12. ^ Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution maps
  13. ^ Plodinec, J. (2003). Instrumentation Development, Measurement and Performance Evaluation of Environmental Technologies. Quarterly Technical Progress Report No. 40395R20. Diagnostic Instrumentation and Analysis Laboratory. Mississippi State University. Starkville, MS.
  14. ^ Expert Panel Report; Boeing SSFL site; pg. 20 . accessed 04.12.2012

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