The grass family, known as Poaceae, is probably the most important plant family on earth. Grasses were the first food plants to be cultivated by man. Grain crops, such as maize, wheat, rice and sugarcane (all grasses), are still our most important source of energy. Grass, in the form of forage, is also the most important food source to farm animals and the large herds of grazing animals in the wild.
The identification of grasses becomes important during land management as the various grass species differ in their grazing value and other ecological functions. Furthermore, weedy grasses react differently to different herbicides and therefore need to be correctly identified.
This book, Guide to Grasses of southern Africa, is the most comprehensive colour identification guide to the common grasses of southern Africa and includes, among others, the following features:
- Descriptions and illustrations of the 320 most important grasses in southern Africa
- An easy-to-use grass identification key
- More than 1000 excellent photographs in full colour
- Thirteen short, fully illustrated introductory chapters with general information on grasses
- Common names of grasses in indigenous languages
- Icons that enable the reader to obtain certain information at a glance
Frits van Oudtshoorn's interest in grasses, and nature in general, started at an early age on the farm where he grew up. Currently he manages a training company called Africa Land-Use Training and is involved in facilitating various short courses in the fields of agriculture and environment. He has a keen interest in sustainable management of natural resources and holds a masters degree in nature conservation.