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Grass Identification Diagrams and Definitions
Grass Identification Terms:
- Vernation - The arrangement of the youngest leaf in the bud shoot, either rolled or folded.
- Ligule - Membranous or hairy appendage located on the upper surface of the grass leaf at the junction of the leaf and blade. Either absent to short, membranous or fringe of hairs.
- Auricles - Claw-like appendages occurring in pairs at the base of the leaf blade or at the apex of the leaf sheath. claw-like, short, or absent.
- Leaf Tip - The flattened portion of the leaf located above the sheath. Either pointed, boat-shaped, blunt/rounded.
- Leaf Sheath - The tubular basal portion of the leaf that encloses the stem.
- Leaf Surface - The flattened portion of the leaf located above the sheath. Smooth, rigid, sparsely hairy, hairy.
- Mid Rib - The main vein in the center of the leaf blade. Present or absent.
- A light-colored, often yellow-green, band of tissue located at the
junction of the blade and sheath on the back-side of the leaf blade. Divided, broad or narrow
- Seed head
- Also called the inflorescence, the flowering portion of a shoot;
includes the spikelets and the supporting axis or branch stem. Spike, pannicle or raceme
- Highly compressed stem located at the base of a vegetative aerial
shoot. The portion of the plant most responsible for growth.
Grass Identification Diagram
A key characteristic that will aid you in grass identification is Growth habit.
habit describes the type of shoot growth and also determines a species
ability to spread out from the parent plant to form a lawn. There are
three basic types: Bunch-type, rhizomatous and stoloniferous.
Bunch-type grasses spread exclusively by the production
of tillers. They will form a uniform lawn with sufficient seeding
rates. When seeding rates are too low, small clumps are formed creating
a non-uniform lawn. Common cool season lawn grasses with bunch-type
growth are perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, hard fescue, and chewings
Stoloniferous grasses spread by above-ground, lateral stems called stolons,
that creep over the ground. New shoots grow along the stolons as they
spread. Stoloniferous lawns appear to their aerial shoots growing
laterally along the ground. Bermudagrass and St. Augustinegrass are
examples of stoloniferous lawns.
Rhizomatous grasses spread by below ground stems known
as rhizomes. The rhizome terminate and form new shoots at positions away
from the mother plant. As these new shoots mature they will also
produce rhizomes that form new shoots creating a uniform lawn. Kentucky
bluegrass is a common rhizomatous lawn.