Grasses are a family of plants sadly known by the large number of people allergic to them around the world. However, these plants are present in our lives far beyond the problems they can cause as allergens, and it is that products as common as rice, wheat or even sugar cane belong to grasses.
Do you want to learn more about grass plants? Keep reading us in this AgroCorrn article in which we explain what grasses are, their characteristics, types and examples .
- What are grasses – definition and characteristics
- Types of grasses – examples of plants
- Ornamental grasses – examples
What are grasses – definition and characteristics
Their scientific name is Poaceae , although they are much better known by their common name: grasses. It is a large family of plants with more than 12,000 species, the vast majority of them herbaceous, and they are the most economically important plant family in the world. Here we talk about the main characteristics of grass plants :
- Its great importance is due to the fact that a large part of human nutrition is based on them, either directly, in the form of cereal grains , flours and oils, or indirectly, since forage grasses are also used to feed birds of corral and cattle all over the world.
- They tend to be perennial or annual and their cylindrical and hollow stems are commonly called canes .
- Its hermaphroditic flowers are grouped in spikes , which contain several spikelets and its leaves vary enormously given the great diversity of the family.
- They are very cosmopolitan plants, which have spread widely and occupy, in fact, a fifth of the earth’s vegetation.
- Most of them bloom in spring , but their large number of species and great diversity mean that practically throughout the year we can find flowering grass plants, as allergy sufferers will know.
- The allergy to grass is quite common in countries where they are quite present and climate usually is not very humid, as in the case of Spain. Symptoms of this allergy tend to include nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing, watery eyes and itchy eyes.
Types of grasses – examples of plants
As we have said, grasses are plants of first order importance at the world economic level. Here are some examples of the better known grass species:
Although traditionally grasses were not used in decoration other than as grass, in recent years there has been a boom in the ornamental use of these plants. These are some of the types of grasses most used ornamentally :
- Muhlenbergia capillaris
- Typha latifolia
- Pennisetum alopecuroides Hameln
- Imperata cylindrical Red Baron
- Cymbopogon nardus
- Naseela thinnest
- Carex buchananii
- Miscanthus sinensis zebrinus
- Ammophila arenaria
- Festuca glauca
- Panicum virgatum
- Acorus gramineus
- Cortaderia senoalla
- Calamagrostis acutiflora
- Ophiopogon japonicum
- Ophiopogon nigra
- Lagurus ovatus
- Juncus patens
- Holms soft persistant
- Cyperus papirus
Ornamental grasses – examples
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ornamental grasses with which we can improve the environment of our home or garden.
Bamboos are a whole subfamily of grasses, also of enormous importance to humans, especially in Asia, where they have traditionally been used to make all kinds of tools and structures.
They are both woody and herbaceous plants, fast growing and found naturally on all continents except Europe. They tend to be evergreen, although their more than 1,500 species give them great diversity. The ornamental bamboos are mainly divided between invasive and non – invasive by aggressively expand into the field, although non invaders are much greater aerial growth.
They come in a wide variety of sizes, and are highly appreciated for their resistance, their high growth speed and their ability to stay green all year round even in cold climates, as well as being used as windbreaks or space dividers that hardly need any maintenance. Among the most common are the following:
- Bamboo tuldoides
- Ventricose bamboo
- Guadua chacoensis
- Thyrsostachys siamensis
- Bambusa oldhamii
- Fungal Pharygesia
Here you can discover more types of bamboo .
It is usually called junco or cattail and is a common plant in tropical or subtropical areas of the northern hemisphere, especially in marshy terrain. It stands out for requiring a high level of humidity, although not of nutrients, since it grows even in not very fertile soils. It blooms in summer and can grow to heights of over 2 meters.
Much better known by its common name: citronella or lemongrass , it is a grass that comes from Ceylon and other warm climate regions of Asia. It is very common to add it to gardens due to its ability to keep unwanted insects away, which is why it is also used in the manufacture of mosquito repellants.
This beautiful grass stands out for the bluish-green color of its leaves , in the form of narrow ribbons, which give rise to a very striking and decorative almost spherical bush in almost any garden. It reaches heights of up to 25 cm and is native to the northeastern United States.
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