Grasses. A guide to their structure, identification, uses, and distribution in the British Isles.
AbstractGrasses are the most abundant, widely spread, and useful of all flowering plants, so much so that without them it is difficult to understand how man could survive. They provide the bulk of his cereal grains, green herbage and dried fodder for his domestic animals, and a variety of valuable byproducts such as fibres, paper, sugar, aromatic oils, adhesives, starch, and alcohol. By means of their highly developed root-systems, close vigourous growth, and ability to persist under adverse conditions, they clothe the soil with a protective covering, preventing erosion on hill and mountain slopes, river-banks, and coastal areas. The special type of leaves enables the plants to withstand close and frequent cutting, providing the familiar green carpets of our parks and gardens. Now that increased food supplies are urgently needed, it is essential for those engaged in agriculture to be able to recognize the numerous kinds of grasses. Yet of all common economic plants they are the least known. In the British Isles alone there are about 152 different species of grasses, each of which is illustrated and described in this book.
This guide to the grasses of the British Isles is intended not only for those using grasses for agricultural, horticultural, and other economic purposes, but also for the student, teacher, botanist, and, in fact, for everyone who wishes to know more about them. It has been prepared in such a manner that even those with little or no botanical knowledge may identifify the common grasses of the countryside. This very useful book of pocket size is divided into the following main sections: the structure of grasses; how to use the keys; grasses listed under habitats; key for naming wild and agricultural grasses; descriptions and illustrations of individual grasses; vegetative characters of grasses; key for naming the more common grasses by their vegetative characters; the ' seeds ' of grasses; the uses of grasses; cereals; herbage grasses; soil-, sand-, and mud-binding grasses; lawn grasses; ornamental grasses; classification of grasses; differences between grasses, rushes, and sedges; bibliography of subjects. This book is extraordinary good value for its very modest price.