Grass
Overview
 
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledon
Monocotyledon
Monocotyledons, also known as monocots, are one of two major groups of flowering plants that are traditionally recognized, the other being dicotyledons, or dicots. Monocot seedlings typically have one cotyledon , in contrast to the two cotyledons typical of dicots...

ous, usually herbaceous
Herbaceous plant
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...

 plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae
Poaceae
The Poaceae is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of flowering plants. Members of this family are commonly called grasses, although the term "grass" is also applied to plants that are not in the Poaceae lineage, including the rushes and sedges...

 (or Gramineae) family, as well as the sedges (Cyperaceae
Cyperaceae
Cyperaceae are a family of monocotyledonous graminoid flowering plants known as sedges, which superficially resemble grasses or rushes. The family is large, with some 5,500 species described in about 109 genera. These species are widely distributed, with the centers of diversity for the group...

) and the rushes (Juncaceae
Juncaceae
Juncaceae, the rush family, are a monocotyledonous family of flowering plants. There are eight genera and about 400 species. Members of the Juncaceae are slow-growing, rhizomatous, herbaceous plants, and they may superficially resemble grasses. They often grow on infertile soils in a wide range...

). The true grasses include cereal
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

s, bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

 and the grasses of lawn
Lawn
A lawn is an area of aesthetic and recreational land planted with grasses or other durable plants, which usually are maintained at a low and consistent height. Low ornamental meadows in natural landscaping styles are a contemporary option of a lawn...

s (turf) and grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

. Sedges include many wild marsh
Marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

 and grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

 plants, and some cultivated ones such as water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis
Eleocharis dulcis
The Chinese water chestnut , more often called simply the water chestnut, is a grass-like sedge grown for its edible corms. The water chestnut is actually not a nut at all, but an aquatic vegetable that grows in marshes, underwater in the mud...

) and papyrus sedge (Cyperus papyrus
Cyperus papyrus
Cyperus papyrus is a monocot belonging to the sedge family Cyperaceae. It is a herbaceous perennial native to Africa, and forms tall stands of reed-like swamp vegetation in shallow water....

).
Encyclopedia
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledon
Monocotyledon
Monocotyledons, also known as monocots, are one of two major groups of flowering plants that are traditionally recognized, the other being dicotyledons, or dicots. Monocot seedlings typically have one cotyledon , in contrast to the two cotyledons typical of dicots...

ous, usually herbaceous
Herbaceous plant
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...

 plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae
Poaceae
The Poaceae is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of flowering plants. Members of this family are commonly called grasses, although the term "grass" is also applied to plants that are not in the Poaceae lineage, including the rushes and sedges...

 (or Gramineae) family, as well as the sedges (Cyperaceae
Cyperaceae
Cyperaceae are a family of monocotyledonous graminoid flowering plants known as sedges, which superficially resemble grasses or rushes. The family is large, with some 5,500 species described in about 109 genera. These species are widely distributed, with the centers of diversity for the group...

) and the rushes (Juncaceae
Juncaceae
Juncaceae, the rush family, are a monocotyledonous family of flowering plants. There are eight genera and about 400 species. Members of the Juncaceae are slow-growing, rhizomatous, herbaceous plants, and they may superficially resemble grasses. They often grow on infertile soils in a wide range...

). The true grasses include cereal
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

s, bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

 and the grasses of lawn
Lawn
A lawn is an area of aesthetic and recreational land planted with grasses or other durable plants, which usually are maintained at a low and consistent height. Low ornamental meadows in natural landscaping styles are a contemporary option of a lawn...

s (turf) and grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

. Sedges include many wild marsh
Marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

 and grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

 plants, and some cultivated ones such as water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis
Eleocharis dulcis
The Chinese water chestnut , more often called simply the water chestnut, is a grass-like sedge grown for its edible corms. The water chestnut is actually not a nut at all, but an aquatic vegetable that grows in marshes, underwater in the mud...

) and papyrus sedge (Cyperus papyrus
Cyperus papyrus
Cyperus papyrus is a monocot belonging to the sedge family Cyperaceae. It is a herbaceous perennial native to Africa, and forms tall stands of reed-like swamp vegetation in shallow water....

). Uses for graminoids include food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

 (as grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

, sprouted grain
Sprouting
Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds to be eaten either raw or cooked.They are a convenient way to have fresh vegetables for salads, or otherwise, in any season and can be germinated at home or produced industrially...

, shoot
Shoot
Shoots are new plant growth, they can include stems, flowering stems with flower buds, and leaves. The new growth from seed germination that grows upward is a shoot where leaves will develop...

s or rhizome
Rhizome
In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes...

s), drink (beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

, whisky
Whisky
Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn...

), pasture
Pasture
Pasture is land used for grazing. Pasture lands in the narrow sense are enclosed tracts of farmland, grazed by domesticated livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep or swine. The vegetation of tended pasture, forage, consists mainly of grasses, with an interspersion of legumes and other forbs...

 for livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

, thatch
Thatching
Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge , rushes, or heather, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. It is a very old roofing method and has been used in both tropical and temperate climates...

, paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

, fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

, clothing
Clothing
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies...

, insulation
Building insulation
building insulation refers broadly to any object in a building used as insulation for any purpose. While the majority of insulation in buildings is for thermal purposes, the term also applies to acoustic insulation, fire insulation, and impact insulation...

, construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

, sports turf, basket weaving
Basket weaving
Basket weaving is the process of weaving unspun vegetable fibres into a basket or other similar form. People and artists who weave baskets are called basketmakers and basket weavers.Basketry is made from a variety of fibrous or pliable materials•anything that will bend and form a shape...

 and many others.

Ecology

Graminoids are among the most versatile life form
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

s. They became widespread toward the end of the Cretaceous
Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

 period, and fossilized dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

 dung (coprolite
Coprolite
A coprolite is fossilized animal dung. Coprolites are classified as trace fossils as opposed to body fossils, as they give evidence for the animal's behaviour rather than morphology. The name is derived from the Greek words κοπρος / kopros meaning 'dung' and λιθος / lithos meaning 'stone'. They...

s) have been found containing phytolith
Phytolith
Some plants can take up silica in the soil, whereupon it is deposited within different intracellular and extracellular structures of the plant. After these plants decay, silica is redeposited in the soil in the form of phytoliths , which are rigid, microscopic structures of varying sizes and shapes...

s of a variety of grasses that include grasses that are related to modern rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 and bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

. Grasses have adapted to conditions in lush rain forests, dry desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

s, cold mountains and even intertidal habitat
Intertidal ecology
Intertidal ecology is the study of intertidal ecosystems, where organisms live between the low and high tide lines. At low tide, the intertidal is exposed whereas at high tide, the intertidal is underwater...

s, and are now the most widespread plant type; grass is a valuable source of food and energy for all sorts of wildlife and organics.

Graminoids are the dominant
Dominance (ecology)
Ecological dominance is the degree to which a species is more numerous than its competitors in an ecological community, or makes up more of the biomass...

 vegetation in many habitats, including grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

, salt-marsh, reedswamp and steppes. They also occur as a smaller part of the vegetation in almost every other terrestrial habitat.

There are some 3,500 species of graminoids.

Many types of animals eat grass as their main source of food, and are called graminivore
Graminivore
In zoology, a graminivore is an herbivorous animal that feeds primarily on grass...

s
– these include cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, sheep, horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

s, rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

s and many invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s, such as grasshopper
Grasshopper
The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as the short-horned grasshopper...

s and the caterpillars of many brown butterflies. Grasses are also eaten by omnivorous
Omnivore
Omnivores are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source...

 or even occasionally by primarily carnivorous
Carnivore
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue, whether through predation or scavenging...

 animals.

In the study of ecological communities
Community (ecology)
In ecology, a community is an assemblage of two or more populations of different species occupying the same geographical area. The term community has a variety of uses...

, herbaceous plant
Herbaceous plant
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...

s are divided into graminoids and forb
Forb
A forb is a herbaceous flowering plant that is not a graminoid . The term is used in biology and in vegetation ecology, especially in relation to grasslands and understory.-Etymology:...

s
, which are herbaceous dicotyledon
Dicotyledon
The dicotyledons, also known as dicots, are a group of flowering plants whose seed typically has two embryonic leaves or cotyledons. There are around 199,350 species within this group...

s, mostly with broad leaves.

Agriculture

Plants of this type have always been important to human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s. They have been grown as food for domesticated animals for up to 6,000 years. (See grass fed beef.) They have been used for paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

-making since 2400 BC or before. Now they provide the majority of food crops, and have many other uses, such as feeding animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s, and for lawn
Lawn
A lawn is an area of aesthetic and recreational land planted with grasses or other durable plants, which usually are maintained at a low and consistent height. Low ornamental meadows in natural landscaping styles are a contemporary option of a lawn...

s. There are many minor uses, and grasses are familiar to most human cultures.

Lawns

In some places, particularly in suburb
Suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

an areas throughout the world, the maintenance of a grass lawn
Lawn
A lawn is an area of aesthetic and recreational land planted with grasses or other durable plants, which usually are maintained at a low and consistent height. Low ornamental meadows in natural landscaping styles are a contemporary option of a lawn...

 is a sign of a homeowner's responsibility to the overall appearance of their neighborhood. One work credits lawn maintenance to,
Many municipalities and homeowner's associations have rules which require lawns to be maintained to certain specifications, sanctioning those who allow the grass to grow too long. In communities with drought
Drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

 problems, watering of lawns may be restricted
Outdoor water-use restriction
An outdoor water-use restriction is a ban or other lesser restrictions put into effect that restricts the outdoor use of water supplies. Often called a watering ban or hosepipe ban, it can affect:*irrigation of lawns*car washing...

 to certain times of day or days of the week.

The smell of the freshly cut grass is produced mainly by cis-3-Hexenal
Cis-3-Hexenal
cis-3-Hexenal, also known as -3-hexenal and leaf aldehyde, is colorless liquid and an aroma compound with an intense grassy-green odor of freshly cut green grass and leaves. It is one of the major volatile compounds in ripe tomatoes. It is produced in small amounts by most plants and it acts as an...

.

Sports turf

Grass is important in many sports, notably with those played on fields such as American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

, Association football, baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

, cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

, and rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

. In some sports facilities, including indoor domes and other places where maintenance of a grass field would be difficult, grass may be replaced with artificial turf
Artificial turf
Artificial turf is a surface manufactured from synthetic fibers made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass. However, it is now being used on residential lawns and commercial applications as well...

, a synthetic grass-like substitute. Sports such as golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

, tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 and cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 are particularly dependent on the quality of the grass on which the sport is played.

Cricket

In cricket, the pitch is the strip of carefully mowed and rolled grass where the bowler bowls. In the days leading up to the match it is repeatedly mowed and rolled to produce a very hard, flat surface for the ball to bounce off. The quality of the preparation can have a considerable influence on the game; a relatively grassy pitch will favor bowlers and a hard and dryer pitch, with less grass remaining, will typically favor batsmen (at least initially). As the grass dries out and is damaged over the course of the match the pitch's characteristics will change, resulting in batting on the first day of a test match being vastly different to batting on the same pitch after 7 days of play.

Golf

Golf is very dependent on a quality grass surface. Grass on golf courses is kept in three distinct conditions: that of the rough, the fairway, and the putting green. Grass on the fairway is short and even, allowing the player to cleanly strike the ball. Playing from the rough is a disadvantage because the grass is generally much longer, which may affect the flight of the ball. Grass on the putting green is the shortest and most even, ideally allowing the ball to roll smoothly over the surface. An entire industry revolves around the development and marketing of grasses for golf courses.

Tennis

In tennis, grass is grown on very hard-packed soil, and the bounce of a tennis-ball may vary depending on the grass's health, how recently it has been mowed, and the wear and tear of recent play. The surface is softer than hard courts and clay (other tennis surfaces), so the ball bounces lower, and players must reach the ball faster resulting in a different style of play which may suit some players more than others. The most famous grass tennis court in the world is Centre Court at Wimbledon located in England, home of the Wimbledon Championship. This is considered the most expensive lawn in the world.

Fiction

Grass plays a central role in two important science fiction catastrophe novels from the 1940s and 1950s, Ward Moore
Ward Moore
Ward Moore was the working name of American author Joseph Ward Moore. Moore grew up in New York City, and later moved to Chicago, and then to California....

's Greener Than You Think, in which the world is slowly taken over by unstoppable Bermuda Grass, and John Christopher's The Death of Grass
The Death Of Grass
The Death of Grass is a 1956 post-apocalyptic science fiction novel written by the English author Samuel Youd under the nom de plume John Christopher...

, in which a plague that kills off all forms of grass threatens the survival of the human species.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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