grass

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grass

grass, any plant of the family Poaceae (formerly 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 ecology) 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., wheat, rice, corn, oats, barley, and rye, provide the grain 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., sorghum, timothy, bent grass, bluegrass, orchard grass, and fescue. Popularly the word grass is used chiefly for these latter and for the lawn 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 sugarcane 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 reed, bamboo (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 grass) are often introduced to prevent erosion. Grasses are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Poaceae.

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).

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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.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.

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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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