417 pages, b/w photos, drawings, tables
40 original papers on the biology of grasses.
Grasses (Poaceae, Gramineae) are a large family of flowering plants. It is a relatively young and successful family. With their linear leaves and small green flowers, grasses are readily recognized and confusion with other families is unlikely. However, strangely enough, grasses are treated as very variable plants and their classification is rather difficult. Distinction of species and genera is complex, although grasses have a relatively simple structure. But simple scheme of the genera structure provides many complex problems for detailed decisions.
The features of grasses fit them for open habitats where they occur as pioneer or early colonists. Grasses have numerous growth points. They develop into branches, rhizomes, stolons or tillers, and contribute to a highly competitive growth habit. Especially perennial grasses are well adapted to vegetative reproduction (sexually they reproduce with a Polygonum-type embryo sac.). Very interesting questions concern grass geography and chorology, because they are found from the tropics to the polar regions and from sea level to highest vegetation zones in the mountains.
For the above mentioned and numerous other reasons grasses are interesting not only to farmers and agronomists. They also provide very exciting problems for theoretical studies (taxonomical, ecological, cytological, genetic and molecular etc.). there is an immense literature dealing with Poaceae, however, all new information are needed to broaden our knowledge concerning grasses.
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