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Grasses

Dr M’s Top 20 flowering plant families in Britain – a resume

Dr M’s series of posts on the Top 20 families of flowering plants kicked off with the three largest families globally: Asteraceae, Orchidaceae and Fabaceae.


Grass Identification: The Tribes of Grasses – 5 Brachypodieae

In Britain the tribe Brachypodieae has just a single genus: Brachypodium with two species. The tribe has affinities to Bromeae (hence the common name false-brome), and Triticeae and also Meliceae (a post on tribe Meliceae coming soon!).


The culms have all the nodes!

One of the characters that marks out the Poaceae, the grasses, is the node. Grass nodes are the  funny “knobbly knees” on the grass culm (culm=the grass flower stem) and nodes are usually easy to spot. They maybe green or shades of brown or even reddish, round or elongated, hairy or glabrous.


Grass Identification: The Tribes of Grasses – 4 Triticeae

Dr M now turns his attention to the tribe Triticeae with 6 genera in Britain including the domesticated crop species and their wild relatives wheat (Triticum) and Barley (Hordeum) and Rye (Secale).


Dog zone grasses!

Urban habitats are many and varied!  Take the area around the base of lamp posts and street trees for example.  These familiar places are somewhat un-picturesquely, though very accurately, described the “dog zone”! This is a great habitat for various weeds which flourish because of what dogs do in the dog zone! One of them is the aptly named grass, Wall Barley (Hordeum murinum),
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Whiteknights BioBlitz 2013: The Movie!

Back in June Dr M posted about the University of Reading Whiteknights BioBitz,  a large scale biodiversity event which ran between 7th-8th June 2013. During this 24 hour period a wide range of people got together to identify as many plant and animal species as they could on the prize-winning University of Reading Whiteknights campus.


Grass Identification: The Tribes of grasses 3 – Bromeae

After posting the two large tribes (Poeae and Aveneae) Dr M is pleased to post this smaller (but perfectly proportioned) tribe Bromeae, the Brome grasses! The Brome grasses are extremely beautiful grasses with rather characteristic oval and awned spikelets, though the main Bromeae genus, Bromus, is rather close to Festuca, read on! The inflorescence is a panicle with laterally compressed spikelets with several to many
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A Taxon for all time!

Dr M wrote this post for Catalogue of Life – Taxon of the Day, sign up to CoL Taxon of the Day in future for details of other favourite plants (Mondays) and animals (other days!). Dr M writes: Poaceae is a wonderful and important vascular plant family, the 5th-largest in the World, after Orchidaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae and Rubiaceae.  World-wide, Poaceae is divided into 28 tribes
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Grass Identification: The Tribes of Grasses 2 – Aveneae

Here is the second in Dr M’s blog posts on the Tribes of grasses and a bit of a marathon this one, enjoy! The Aveneae is the largest grass tribe in Britain with twenty-two genera. The inflorescence is a branched panicle which may be spike-like, contracted or open. Spikelets have 1-several fertile florets which are laterally compressed. The glumes are persistent and often papery,
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Books for British grass identification: Hubbard’s “Grasses” and the BSBI “Grasses of the British Isles”

Dr M’s favourite and recommended books on grass identification: Dr M’s Agrostological training was honed by the marvellous volume entitled simply  “Grasses” by Charles Hubbard (1954, 1968, 1984). Often affectionately referred to as  “Hubbard“, i.e. “Let’s go and ID some grasses this weekend?”, “Yes! and don’t forget to bring Hubbard!”  Hubbard’s keys were notoriously tough going, there was a key to grasses in flower, even
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