The Devil has the best tunes but the Poaceae surely has all the best words – LIGULE, AURICLE, GLUME, SPIKELET and LODICULE!
As you may now, Dr M is particularly fond of Poaceae and is currently in the midst of a series of posts on the tribes of grasses, check those out for the Devil in the detail, here Dr M takes the opportunity to post a reminder of the key characters that mark out the green and wonderful family that is the Poaceae!
Poaceae in brief:
- The 5th-largest vascular plant family in the World, divided into 28 tribes around 740 genera and 11,400 species
- Huge economic, ecological and aesthetic importance
- Flower stems (called culms) are round in section and hollow with internodes separated by knobbly knees (called nodes)
- A monocot family with leaves alternate and in two ranks (distichous), with linear, entire, leaf blades with parallel veins
- Leaves differentiated into sheath, blade and ligule, which may be membranous or a fringe of hairs
- Flowers much reduced (called florets) unisexual or bisexual, 3 stamens, and stigmas elongated and feathery
- Florets arranged in spikelets (each with one or more florets) in a terminal inflorescence which may be spike-like, a raceme or a branched panicle
- Spikelets subtended by a pair of scales (called glumes) each floret itself subtended by two scales: one lemma and one palea
- The lemma (and sometimes the glume) may have a terminal or dorsal bristle (called an awn)
- There are also a pair of lodicules which are tiny and not easy to find and not useful for ID but LODICULE it’s a great word isn’t it?!
- Fruit (the grass “grain”) is a dry caryopsis – a specialised fruit in which the ovary wall is fused to the seed
Gallery of Poaceous Parts:
Click on the images for a better view