Helpful Hints To Identifying Grasses
Most plants having narrow leaves with parallel veins are called grasses. Seedling grasses are
generally more difficult to identify than seedling broadleaf weeds. As grasses grow they usually
develop features that help distinguish them from one another.
Parts of a Grass Plant
The leaf of a grass plant is composed of three basic parts:
blade is the flattened portion of the leaf.
- The collar is the junction between the blade and the
- The sheath is the portion of the leaf surrounding the stem.
|Other parts of the leaf are:
- The ligule is a membrane-like structure attached to the collar on the inside of the leaf.
- The auricles are claw-like appendages attached to the collar and surrounding the stem.
Key factors in identifying many
grasses are the presence or absence of ligules and auricles and their size and shape.
Identification of grasses is also aided by the presence of hairs (called pubescence) on various
plant parts. Length, density and location of these hairs will vary for different grasses. The
absence of hairs (called glabrous) on parts of the plant can also serve as a key in identification of
||The term broadleaf weed usually pertains to weeds with broad or wide leaves and a pair of cotyledons, or seed leaves. |
|Seed leaves or cotyledons are usually the first pair of leaves to appear as the
plant emerges through the soil. Some broadleaf weeds have large square seed leaves.
Other broadleaf weeds have seed leaves of another shape. Seed leaves are
normally thicker and more fleshy than leaves that develop later. The size, shape and sometimes the odor of seed leaves can be used to distinguish some broadleaf weeds from one another.
|One key that aids in the identification of broadleaf weeds is the
arrangement of the leaves. The arrangement of the leaves on a plant will vary for different species. Some broadleaf weeds have leaves arranged alternately on the stem, some have leaves arranged opposite each other, and some have leaves arranged in a whorl about the stem.||