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grass,

any plant of the family Gramineae, an important and widely distributed group of vascular plants, having an extraordinary range of adaptation. Numbering approximately 600 genera and 9,000 species, the grasses form the climax vegetation (see ecologyecology,
study of the relationships of organisms to their physical environment and to one another. The study of an individual organism or a single species is termed autecology; the study of groups of organisms is called synecology.
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) in great areas of low rainfall throughout the world: the prairies and plains of North America, the savannas and pampas of South America, the steppes and plains of Eurasia, and the veldt of Africa.

Most grasses are annual or perennial herbs with fibrous roots and, often, rhizomes. The stems are always noded and are typically hollow and swollen at the nodes, although many genera have solid stems. The leaves have two parts: a sheath surrounding the stem (called the culm in grasses); and a blade, usually flat and linear. The flowers are of a unique form, the inflorescence being subdivided into spikelets each containing one or more tiny florets. (In other flowering plants the inflorescences are clusters of separate flowers, never spikelets.) The dry seedlike fruit is called a caryopsis, or grain.

Economically the grass family is of far greater importance than any other. The cereal grasses, e.g., wheatwheat,
cereal plant of the genus Triticum of the family Gramineae (grass family), a major food and an important commodity on the world grain market. Wheat Varieties and Their Uses
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, ricerice,
cereal grain (Oryza sativa) of the grass family (Graminae), probably native to the deltas of the great Asian rivers—the Ganges, the Chang (Yangtze), and the Tigris and Euphrates.
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, corncorn,
in botany. The name corn is given to the leading cereal crop of any major region. In England corn means wheat; in Scotland and Ireland, oats. The grain called corn in the United States is Indian corn or maize (Zea mays mays).
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, oatsoats,
cereal plants of the genus Avena of the family Gramineae (grass family). Most species are annuals of moist temperate regions. The early history of oats is obscure, but domestication is considered to be recent compared to that of the other grains—perhaps c.
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, barleybarley,
annual cereal plant (Hordeum vulgare and sometimes other species) of the family Gramineae (grass family), cultivated by humans probably as early as any cereal.
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, and ryerye,
cereal grain of the family Gramineae (grass family). The grain, Secale cereale, is important chiefly in Central and N Europe. It seems to have been domesticated later than wheat and other staple grains; cultivated rye is quite similar to the wild forms and no traces
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, provide the graingrain,
in agriculture, term referring to the caryopsis, or dry fruit, of a cereal grass. The term is also applied to the seedlike fruits of buckwheat and of certain other plants and is used collectively for any plant that bears such fruits.
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 that is the staple food of most of mankind and the major type of feed. The grasses also include most of the hay and pasture plants, e.g., sorghumsorghum,
tall, coarse annual (Sorghum vulgare) of the family Gramineae (grass family), somewhat similar in appearance to corn (but having the grain in a panicle rather than an ear) and used for much the same purposes.
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, timothytimothy
or herd's-grass,
perennial plant (Phleum pratense) of the family Gramineae (grass family), native to Europe and W Asia and one of the most widely cultivated hay grass of North America.
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, bent grassbent grass,
any species of the genus Agrostis of the family Gramineae (grass family), chiefly slender, delicate plants native to cool climates. Many are used for forage or lawns. Important species naturalized from Europe include the creeping bent (A.
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, bluegrassbluegrass,
any species of the large and widely distributed genus Poa, chiefly range and pasture grasses of economic importance in temperate and cool regions. In general, bluegrasses are perennial with fine-leaved foliage that is bluish green in some species.
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, orchard grassorchard grass
or cocksfoot,
widely distributed perennial grass (Dactylis glomerata) native to Eurasia and N Africa and extensively naturalized in the United States.
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, and fescuefescue
, any of some 100 species of introduced Old World grasses of the genus Festuca. Meadow fescue and tall, or reed, fescue are excellent forage crops and the Chewing's, red, and sheep fescues are planted for turf.
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. Popularly the word grass is used chiefly for these latter and for the lawnlawn,
grass turf or greensward cultivated in private yard or public park. A good lawn, or green, has both beauty and usefulness; its maintenance for golf, tennis, baseball, and other sports is a costly and specialized procedure.
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 grass types; it is also loosely applied to plants which are not true grasses (e.g., clover and alfalfa) but which are similarly grown.

Molasses and sugar are products of sugarcanesugarcane,
tall tropical perennials (species of Saccharum, chiefly S. officinarum) of the family Gramineae (grass family), probably cultivated in their native Asia from prehistoric times.
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 and sorghum, both grasses. Many liquors are made from grains and molasses. Plants of the grass family are also a source of industrial ethyl alcohol, corn starch and byproducts, newsprint and other types of paper, and numerous lesser items. Especially in the tropics, species of reedreed,
name used for several plants of the family Graminae (grass family). The common American reed, also called reedgrass and canegrass, is a tall perennial grass (Phragmites australis), widely distributed in fresh or brackish wet places.
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, bamboobamboo,
plant of the family Gramineae (grass family), chiefly of warm or tropical regions, where it is sometimes an extremely important component of the vegetation. It is most abundant in the monsoon area of E Asia.
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 (one of the few woody types), and other genera are used for thatching and construction. As food, grasses are as important for wildlife as for domesticated animals. They are able to survive grazing because their intercalary meristems are set back from the apex of the plant. Because of the tenacious nature of their large underground root system, grasses (e.g., beach grassbeach grass
or marram grass
, any species of the genus Ammophila, perennial grasses used to control the shifting of sand dunes, thereby protecting sandy coastal areas. The European beach grass (A.
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) are often introduced to prevent erosion. Grasses are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Gramineae.

Bibliography

See U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Grass: The Yearbook of Agriculture (1948); A. S. Hitchcock, A Manual of Grasses of the United States (2 vol., 2d ed. 1971); J. W. Bews, The World's Grasses (1929, repr. 1973).

What does it mean when you dream about grass?

Flowing green grasses, sweeping meadows, or farms suggest an image of peaceful, pastoral lifestyles. The more common grass of suburban lawns can represent domesticity.

grass

[gras]
(botany)
The common name for all members of the family Gramineae; moncotyledonous plants having leaves that consist of a sheath which fits around the stem like a split tube, and a long, narrow blade.
(electronics)
Clutter due to circuit noise in a radar receiver, seen on an A scope as a pattern resembling a cross section of turf. Also known as hash.

grass

i. Sharp, closely spaced discontinuities in the trace of a cathode-ray tube. They are produced by random interference and are so named because of their resemblance to blades of lawn grass.
ii. In radar, a descriptive colloquialism used to refer to the indication of noise on an “A” or a similar type of display.

grass

any monocotyledonous plant of the family Poaceae (formerly Gramineae), having jointed stems sheathed by long narrow leaves, flowers in spikes, and seedlike fruits. The family includes cereals, bamboo, etc.
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Grass

G?nter (Wilhelm) . born 1927, German novelist, dramatist, and poet. His novels include The Tin Drum (1959), Dog Years (1963), The Rat (1986), Toad Croaks (1992), and Crabwalk (2002). Nobel prize for literature 1999
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