In search of flowers in the Northeast

Grass Family: Poaceae

We all recognize grass, but grass flowers are another story. We don’t think of grasses as flowering, but they do. The difference is how they are pollinated – by wind instead of insects and birds. That means no fancy, enticing petals, nectar, or fragrances. Just the business parts – stamens and pistils. Stamens may emerge early morning and hold their pollen-containing anthers a distance from the flowering head to catch early breezes. Pistils are often feathery to catch the pollen. Grasses grow together since their pollen can only travel so far. This is an important family providing forage for animals as well as crops, building materials, and fuel for humans. Important members include corn, rice, wheat, barley, millet, and timothy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *