Examples of physical characteristics that have been used for grass classification are flower structure and arrangement; vegetative shoot characteristics such as culm height and leaf length and width; and anatomy of epidermal tissue, roots, stems (culms), leaves (sheath and blade), and embryo structure. Among these physical characters, flower structure and arrangement appear less subject to environmental influence, and are thus considered more reliable (Gould and Shaw, 1983).

Certain aspects of growth habit also are used for classification purposes. Among the most important is longevity, that is, whether an individual plant usually survives for only 1 yr (an annual), 2 yr (biennial), or for many years (perennial). The reader is referred to Nelson (1996) for an in-depth review of cool-season grass physiology and morphological development.


See Related Information:

Chapter 2: Classification within the Grass Family