The language of grasses

Grasses are the largest family of flowering plants found in Britain there are about 200 native and introduced species to be found.

To identify these plants a new set of terms need to be learnt and understood- the language of grasses.

Grasses have flowers which need to be looked at closely and understood. I’ve drawn a diagram to explain them.

These are clustered in spikelets that are one characteristic used in keys to identify grassed- diagram 2

Another feature used is the structure of the ligule this is where the leaf blade and the stem join-diagram 3

To attempt some identification of the grasses I collected at Swineshead I have laid them out as herbarium sheets and used 2 Collins identification guides.

It is surprising how many different species there were without looking really closely.

Definitely a skill I’ll be practising and grasses are firmly on my explorer radar !


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