77b. Poa versicolor subsp. relaxa (Ovczinnikov) Tzvelev, Tadzhikist. Bazy Akad. Nauk. 1: 20. 1933.
新疆早熟禾 xin jiang zao shu he
Poa relaxa Ovczinnikov, Izv. Tadzhikist. Bazy Ak. Nauk 1: 20. 1933; P. acuminata Ovczinnikov (1933), not Scribner (1896); P. fragilis Ovczinnikov.
Culms 30–50 cm tall, usually hard, scabrid, base covered by withered leaf sheaths slightly tinged with red. Leaf blade usually flat, later folded or inrolled, 1.5–2.5 mm wide; ligule 1–1.5(–6) mm. Panicle oblong, conferted, 7–15 cm, branches 1 or 2 per node, 2–3 cm. Spikelets elliptic-lanceolate, 4–6(–6.5) mm, green or tinged with purple, florets 3–5(–7); glumes oblong-lanceolate, apex acuminate, lower glume ca. 3.5 mm, upper glume 4–4.2 mm, keel scabrid; lemma 3.2–3.7(–4) mm; margins white or golden yellow membranous. Anthers ca. 2 mm. Fl. Jun–Aug. 2n = 42.
Meadows along forest and thicket margins, open grasslands on rocky slopes; 1100–4300 m. Gansu, Xinjiang [Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan].
This subspecies is probably of hybrid origin and forms numerous morphological variants. It appears to be intermediate between Poa nemoralis and P. versicolor, replacing the Siberian P. urssulensis and P. versicolor subsp. stepposa in C Asia. Pazij (Bot. Mater. Gerb. Inst. Bot. Akad. Nauk Uzbeksk. SSR 17: 18–42. 1962) has reported hybrids of subsp. relaxa with P. attenuata, P. nemoralis, and even P. pratensis. Ovczinnikov (in Ovczinnikov & Chukavina, Fl. Tadzhiksk. SSR 1: 149. 1957) has reported that the extreme forms make subsp. relaxa very difficult to identify. Typical P. fragilis, with entirely glabrous lemmas, is rather rare, but in spite of its differing clearly from the type of subsp. relaxa, numerous intermediate samples form a continuum. For this reason, P. fragilis does not seem to deserve even subspecific rank.