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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Poales

Familia: Poaceae
Subfamilia: Pooideae
Tribus: Aveneae
Subtribus: Agrostidinae
Genus: Polypogon
Species: (22)
P. australis – P. chilensis – P. elongatus – P. exasperatus – P. fugax – P. griquensis – P. hissaricus – P. imberbis – P. interruptus – P. ivanovae – P. linearis – P. magellanicus – P. maritimus – P. mollis – P. monspeliensis – P. nilgiricus – P. parvulus – P. pygmeus – P. schimperianus – P. tenellus – P. tenuis – P. viridis

Nothospecies: (1)
P. × adscendens

Polypogon Desf., Fl. Atlant. 1: 66 (1798)

Type species: Polypogon monspeliensis (L.) Desf., Fl. Atlant. 1: 66 (1798)


Santia Savi, Mem. Mat. Fis. Soc. Ital. 8: 479 (1799)
Chaetotropis Kunth, Révis. Gramin. 1: 72 (1829)
Nowodworskya J.Presl in C.B.Presl, Reliq. Haenk. 1: 351 (1830)


Desfontaines, R.L. 1798. Flora Atlantica 1: 66.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2013. Polypogon in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2013 Dec. 11. Reference page.
Simon, B.K., Clayton, W.D., Harman, K.T., Vorontsova, M., Brake, I., Healy, D. & Alfonso, Y. 2013. GrassWorld, (Poaceae) Polypogon (Poaceae). Published online. Accessed: 2013 Dec. 11. 2013. Polypogon. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 11 Dec. 2013.
International Plant Names Index. 2013. Polypogon. Published online. Accessed: 11 Dec. 2013.

Vernacular names

English: Rabbitsfoot grass
suomi: Sukaheinät
қазақша: Мысыққұйрық
русский: Многобородник
中文: 棒头草属

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.


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

Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Desfontaines, René Louiche. 1800. Flora Atlantica 1: 66-67 in Latin
Tropicos, Polypogon Desf.
Flora of China Vol. 22 Page 361 棒头草属 bang tou cao shu Polypogon Desfontaines, Fl. Atlant. 1: 66. 1798.
USDA . accessed 04.12.2012
The Plant List search for Polypogon
Altervista Flora Italiana, genere Polypogon Archived 2015-03-23 at the Wayback Machine
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
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
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
Atlas of Living Australia, Polypogon Desf. Beard Grasses
Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution maps
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.
Expert Panel Report; Boeing SSFL site; pg. 20 . accessed 04.12.2012

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