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Grasses and bamboos are part of the same botanical group, the grass family, also called Poaceae, a family with an estimated 12,000 species. Grasses occur throughout the world with similar diversity in the tropical and temperate regions, in all climates, and at all elevations. Madagascar is no exception, and the grass family is the most economically important group of plants which has always been closely involved in people's lives.
Madagascar's grasses are still poorly known and many endemic species have only been recorded once or twice, and more collections and records are necessary to understand the true diversity and species distribution. This guide hopes to encourage study and collecting of grasses by showing how beautiful and interesting these plants can be, and by providing a practical means of identification at the generic level. Identification Guide to Grasses and Bamboos in Madagascar compiles and summarises the current available knowledge on the genera of Madagascar Poaceae, with an emphasis on easily visible characters to verify generic identity. 144 grass genera are described with colour scans to aid recognition.
Maria Vorontsova is a botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, specialising in grasses, with a particular focus on tropical African species. She is the editor of the journal Phytotaxa and book reviews editor for the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society.
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