, or more technically
, are monocotyledonous
, usually herbaceous plants
narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true
grasses", of the Poaceae
family, as well as the sedges (Cyperaceae
) and the rushes (Juncaceae
). The true grasses include cereals
and the grasses
(turf) and grassland
. Sedges include many wild marsh
and some cultivated ones such as water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis
) and papyrus sedge
). Uses for
graminoids include food
, sprouted grain
, basket weaving
Graminoids are among the most versatile life
. They became widespread towards the end of the Cretaceous
period, and fossilized dinosaur
have been found containing phytoliths
variety of grasses that include the ancestors of rice
. Grasses have
adapted to conditions in lush rain
, dry deserts
, cold mountains and
even intertidal habitat
, 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
vegetation in many habitats, including grassland
. 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 graminivores
, such as grasshoppers
and the caterpillars of many
. Grasses are also eaten
or even occasionally by
In the study of ecological
, herbaceous plants
are divided into graminoids and forbs
which are herbaceous dicotyledons
mostly with broad leaves.
Plants of this type have always been important to humans
. They have been grown as food for domesticated animals
for up to 10,000
years. (See grass fed beef
have been used for paper
-making since 2400 BC
or before. Now they provide the majority of food crops
, and have many other uses, such as
, and for lawns
. There are many minor uses, and grasses are
familiar to most human cultures.
Grasses used as an ornamental
Grasses used as an ornamental planting
The smell of the freshly cut grass is produced mainly by cis-3-Hexenal
In some places, particularly in suburban
areas throughout the world, the maintenance of a grass lawn
is a sign of a homeowner's responsibility to the
overall appearance of their neighborhood. One work credits lawn
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
of lawns may be restricted
to certain times of
day or days of the week. Some people have allergies
Grass is important in many sports
with those played on fields such as American football
, Association football
. In some sports facilities,
including indoor domes and places where maintenance of a grass
field would be difficult, grass may be replaced with artificial turf
, a synthetic grass-like
substitute. Sports such as golf
particularly dependent on the quality of the grass on which the
sport is played.
The gray area is the
pitch currently in use.
Parallel to it are other pitches in various states of
preparation which could be used in other matches.
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 5 days of play.
Golf is very dependent on a quality grass surface. Grass on golf
courses is kept in three distinct conditions: that of the
, the fairway
, and the putting
. 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.
In tennis, grass is grown on very hard-packed soil, and bounce 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, home of the Wimbledon Championship.
considered the most expensive lawn in the world.
Grass plays a central role in two important science fiction
catastrophe novels from the 1940s and 1950s, Ward Moore
'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
, in which a
plague that kills off all forms of grass threatens the survival of
the human species.
bunkers Filton.jpg|A sea of neatly cut grass surrounds the bunkers
at Filton Golf Club,
Bristol.Image:TallWildGrass.jpg|Tall grass growing
wild at Lyme
Image:GrassOnStone.jpg|In some places, even
small areas of grass are valuable. These steps were built to access
grass for animal feed. Swiss-Italian region near Bignasco.
Image:Cows in green field - nullamunjie
olive grove.jpg| Grasses play an important role in agriculture
- Dinosaurs Dined on Grass by Dolores R. Piperno and Hans-Dieter
Sues, Science, 18 November 2005: Vol. 310. no.
5751, pp. 1126 - 1128.
- The Observers Book of Grasses, Sedges and Rushes by
published by Frederick Warne, Revised Edition Nov 1974, page 5,
- hexenal (School of Chemistry, University of
- Lawn Sprinkling Regulations in Metro Vancouver, BC,
- Chapman, G.P. and W.E. Peat. 1992. An Introduction to the
Grasses. CAB Internat., Oxon, UK.
- Cheplick, G.P. 1998. Population Biology of Grasses.
- Milne, L. and M. Milne. 1967. Living Plants of the
World. Chaticleer Press,
- Soderstrom, T.R., K.W. Hilu, C.S. Campbell, and M.E. Barkworth,
eds. 1987. Grass Systematics and Evolution. Smithsonian
Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
- Went, Frits W. 1963. The Plants. Time-Life Books, N.Y.