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Monocots

Poaceae: what you need to know to ID a grass

Dr M is particularly fond of grasses! Grasses are an important group of plants with more than 10 000 species worldwide. In Britain there are over 150 species of grasses and they are an important component of all habitat types not just grasslands (pastures, meadows), but also woodland, heathland and wetlands. Grasses are important as food for grazing animals. But grasses are also valuable
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Meadow Foxtail has all the anthers…

Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis) on the University of Reading campus is now looking splendid with a myriad anthers protruding from the spikelets (the grass flowers) in this characteristic spike-like inflorescence.  In the previous Foxtail post Dr M promised to explain more about the diverse types of grass inflorescence, all of which are variations on what, in botanical terms, is known as a panicle, it’s
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eXtreme botanical imagination – Karl Blossfeldt at the Whitechapel Gallery

  Not only then, in the world of art, but equally in the realm of science, Nature is our best teacher.”  Karl Blossfeldt “Wundergarten der Natur” (1932). Dr M is never one to let botanical imagination pass by… so check out the Karl Blossfeldt exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London.


Poaceous Postcard from the Peninsula

Mid May 2013, and during Dr M’s annual botanical field trip to the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, we found over 300 different plant species during the week! Many plant families delighted us but we made a bit of a special study of Poaceae and, although we didn’t find every genus from Dr M’s legendary Poaceae song, we certainly found a decent number!


eXtreme botany challenge!

Following his post on defining eXtreme botany, Dr M has been asked: “Dr M, so can you identify a grass from just one leaf?” Dr M replies: “Hmmmm, I just love botanical conundrums!  This would surely be tricky if you were given a leaf of a grass at random, not knowing from whence it was plucked.  But if you know its geographical origin, e.g.
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Poaceae is a family of grasses green and wonderful!

It’s an open secret that Dr M has a soft spot for Poaceae and is currently busy practicing for a new improved version of the infamous Poaceae song!  But here, Dr M turns his attention to having  look at some common grasses.  Spring is here, and although all that is green is not grass, a lot of it is!  On the Whiteknights campus at
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