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Field Guides & Natural History  Botany  Vascular Plants  Grasses, Sedges, Rushes & Ferns

Name Those Grasses Identifying Grasses, Sedges and Rushes

Field / Identification Guide Identification Key Out of Print
By: Ian Clarke(Author)
608 pages, 64 pages with colour photos; 151 b/w line drawings
Name Those Grasses
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  • Name Those Grasses ISBN: 9780980407648 Paperback Nov 2015 Out of Print #227884
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About this book

The Grasses constitute one of the largest families of Flowering Plants, with estimates of numbers suggesting more than 12,000 species. They can scarcely be challenged as the 'most important plant family' to humanity, providing all our cereals as well as forming a substantial component of pastures for grazing livestock.

Accurate identification is an essential prerequisite to any discipline involved with plants. However, the somewhat cryptic nature of Grass flowers, and some superficially similar species (sometimes belonging in other families), has usually seen indentification left to the expert. With clear text, and detailed illustrations and photographs Name Those Grasses describes the structure of Grasses and some similar groups, explains the language used in their description, and describes the process of identification. The drawings and photographs emphasise structural details and cover over 200 species (131 species of Grasses, 38 Sedges, 16 Rushes, 16 Restios, Rope-rushes and allies, and 2 species of Typha (Bulrushes)), which will assist with recognition of many common plants of roadsides and pastures.

Although most of the illustrated examples are widely distributed in the temperate parts of the world, this book is foremost about the identification process in general, rather than being a field guide to identifying grasses in any one particular region. It will therefore greatly facilitate the successful use of standard identification manuals available for most parts of the world and is relevant globally.

Name Those Grasses will be of value to anyone with an interest or profession that touches on these fascinating and important plants, including those involved in agriculture and crop production, as well as natural resource managers. The clear, labelled illustrations will be particularly useful to teachers of biological science and taxonomic botany. And of course all naturalists and lovers of wild places are invited to share the beauty of this corner of the natural world.


Acknowledgements   vii
Introduction   viii

1. Making a Start   1
      The aim of this book   1
      Some essential information   2
      Using this book   4
      Notes on the illustrations   5
      Botanical illustration   9
      Plant names and synonymy   9

2. Introduction to Plant Structure   10
      Introduction to flora Structure   10
            A basic "conventional" flower   10
                  The perianth   10
                  The reproductive parts   10
                  Variation in floral structure   12
                  Further notes on the gynoecium   16
            Introduction to the floral structure of Grasses, Sedges and Rushes   17
      Inflorescences – the flower-bearing shoots   18
            General introduction to inflorescences   18
            Introduction to the inflorescences of grass-like plants   22
            Current practice in applying inflorescence terminology   24
      Introduction to vegetative structure   25
            Roots   26
            Stems   26
            Leaves   31
            Finer details of surfaces, and internal features   34
            Plant habit and life span   35

3. Nomenclature and Classification   37
      Nomenclature   37
      Classification   39
      The interplay between names and classification   40

4. Family Poaceae (Grasses)   42
      Grasses in everyday life   43
            Useful Grasses   43
            Grasses as weeds   44
      The Structure of Grasses   44
            Grass flowers and associated parts   45
                  Florets   45
                  Spikelets   46
            Variation in florets and spikelets   48
                  Floret variation   48
                  Spikelet variation   50
            Floral structure summary: Grasses   53
                  Ornamentation and appendages   54
            Fruit and dispersal   55
                  The caryopsis   55
                  Dispersal   56
            Inflorescences   59
            Vegetative Structure   67
                  The Grass plant   67
                  Culms   68
                  Leaves   68
                  Internal structure of leaves   70
                  Habit and growth   72
      Classification   74
            Introduction to some of the main groups of Grasses   78
                  Subfamily Pooideae   78
                        Tribe Stipeae   79
                        Tribe Meliceae   80
                        Tribe Brachypodieae   80
                        Tribe Bromeae   81
                        Tribe Triticeae   81
                        Tribe Aveneae   83
                        Tribe Poeae   84
                        Tribe Hainardieae   84
                  Subfamily Bambusoideae   85
                        Tribe Bambuseae   85
                  Subfamily Ehrhartoideae   90
                        Tribe Oryzeae   90
                        Tribe Ehrharteae   90
                  Subfamily Arundinoideae   91
                        Tribe Arundineae   91
                  Subfamily Danthonioideae   92
                        Tribe Danthonieae   92
                  Subfamily Aristidoideae   94
                        Tribe Aristideae   94
                  Subfamily Chloridoideae   94
                        Tribe Triodieae   94
                        Tribe Eragrostideae   95
                        Tribe Cynodonteae   96
                  Subfamily Panicoideae   97
                        Tribe Paspaleae   97
                        Tribe Paniceae   97
                        Tribe Andropogoneae   99

Figures 14-102   102-279
Plates 1-17  

5. Family Cyperaceae (Sedges)   281
      The structure of Sedges   282
            Sedge flowers and associated parts   282
                  Flowers   282
                  Spikelets   282
            Variation in flowers and associated parts   283
                  Flowers   283
                  Spikelets   284
                        Compound spikelets   285
                  Pseudospikelets   285
                  Alternative floral units   286
            Floral structure summary: Sedges   286
            Fruit and dispersal   286
            Inflorescences   288
            Vegetative structure   289
                  The Sedge plant   289
                  Underground parts   290
                  Culms   291
                  Leaves   291
                  Internal structure of leaves   292
      Classification   292
            Subfamily Mapanioideae   293
                  Tribe Fiypolytreae   293
                  Tribe Chrysitricheae   293
            Subfamily Cyperoideae   294
                  Tribe Scirpeae   294
                  Tribe Fuireneae   294
                  Tribe Eleocharideae   294
                  Tribe Abildgaardieae   295
                  Tribe Cypereae   295
                  Tribe Dulichieae   296
                  Tribe Schoeneae   296
            Subfamily Sclerioideae   297
                  Tribe Cryptangieae   297
                  Tribe Trilepideae   297
                  Tribe Sclerieae   297
                  Tribe Bisboeckelereae   298
            Subfamily Caricoideae   298
               Tribe Cariceae   298
                     The genus Carex   300
                           Hybrids      303
                           Classification within the genus Carex   304

Figures 103-131   306-363

6. Family Juncaceae (Rushes)   364
      Introduction to the genera of Juncaceae   365
            Genus Juncus   366
                  Floral structure   366
                  Inflorescences   367
                  Vegetative structure   368
                  Classification   371
                        Introduction to the subgenera and sections of Juncus   371
            Genus Luzula   374
                  Floral structure   374
                  Inflorescences   374
                  Vegetative structure   375
                  Classification   375
                        Introduction to the subgenera and sections of Luzula   376

Figures 132-144   378-403
Recognising Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Restios   404
Plates 18-34

7. Families Restionaceae and Centrolepidaceae   410
      Family Restionaceae (Restios, Rope-rushes and Cordrushes)   410
            Floral Structure   410
            Inflorescences   412
            Vegetative structure   414
            Classification   415
                  Introduction to the main groups within Restionaceae   416
                        Subfamily Sporadanthoideae   416
                        Subfamily Leptocarpoideae   416
                        Subfamily Restionoideae   417
      Family Centrolepidaceae   417
            Floral structure   417
            Inflorescences   418
            Vegetative structure   418
            Classification   418
                  Introduction to the genera of Centrolepidaceae   418

Figures 145-149   420-429

8. Family Typhaceae (Bulrushes, Cat-tails, Cumbungis, Reedmaces)   430
      Floral structure   430
      The inflorescence   431
      Vegetative structure   432
      Alternative interpretations and terminology   432
      Classification   433

9. The Process of Identification   438
      Equipment   439
      Identifying Grasses   439
      Identifying Sedges, Rushes and Restios   441
      Identifying Bulrushes   444
      Botanical keys   444
            Traditional dichotomous keys   445
            Interactive computer keys   446
            Working with keys   447
            Keys to the families and most of the genera in Figures 14-151 and Plates 1-32   449

References   464
Symbols, Abbreviations and Contractions   474
Glossary   475
Index   521

Customer Reviews


Ian Clarke has spent more than 40 years working in the botanical field. Initially at The University of Melbourne School of Botany, he collected samples for practical classes in plant taxonomy, as well as maintaining the School's substantial herbarium. He later joined the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, working for many years in the National Herbarium's plant identification and information service. He has long held an interest in botanical illustration, and has served on the selection panel for numerous Botanical Art exhibitions organised by the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Inc. An earlier book, Name that Flower: The Identification of Flowering Plants, written with coauthor Helen Lee, has continued in print since first published in 1987 by Melbourne University Press.

Field / Identification Guide Identification Key Out of Print
By: Ian Clarke(Author)
608 pages, 64 pages with colour photos; 151 b/w line drawings
Media reviews

"[...] The book is beautifully illustrated with detailed line drawings and photos which all help the reader to build up a vivid picture of what these plants look like. There is much useful information associated with the illustrations, which highlight important features at the family level and below, considerably aiding identification. [...] Minor issues apart, this book is an excellent primer to plant families which are well known as being some of the most difficult to identify. It should definitely have a place on the botanical bookshelf."
– David A. Simpson, Kew Bulletin 73(19), 2018

"[...] Generously illustrated and carefully organized, this guide may be a welcome addition to the library of any botanist, professional or amateur. Despite inevitable limitations inherent in any book that tries to usefully summarize global diversity of grasses, sedges, and similar plants, the author has designed a primer that can serve as a practical introduction to these plants that are notoriously difficult to identify. I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to become adept at identification of grasses and grass-like plants."
– Amy Boyd, Department of Biology, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, North Carolina, USA, Plant Science Bulletin Vol. 63 (1): 51-2 (Spring 2017)

"[...] Despite its broad scope, his treatment is nevertheless of great value to British and Irish botanists [...] [The author] gives a good explanation of the specialised terminology used to describe the parts of the grass flower, and goes into the process of identification in such a way that it dispels any notion that grasses are particularly difficult to identify. The illustrations are of a uniformly high standard [...] They include exploded drawings of the floral parts that are much more accessible than the style of drawing one encountered in such handbooks as Hubbard. [...] Although grasses are hard to photograph well in close-up, the section of colour plates following p. 408 is delightful and provides images against a black background, emphasising the nervature and translucency of the parts. [...] As a teaching aid it should prove useful on field courses, due to its well thought out format with 'recognition notes' for the main tribes [...]"
– John Edmondson, New Journal of Botany, Vol. 6(2-3), pp. 117-8 (2016)

"From the moment I took this book from its package, I loved it! [...] I am sure that any interested non-professional can successfully use this book. The author emphasizes that “this book is intended as a guide to pursuing practical plant identification” and he has certainly made this possible through clarity of the treatments and his truly outstanding illustrations and photographs.[...]"
– Janice C. Swab, Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter 167, June 2016

"[...] After carrying this book around with me for two weeks during my four-hour commute to work, I can report that the book is the perfect size to hold and read. The size and the binding allow the reader to refer back easily to plates and figures described in the text. The paper and the print quality is excellent, with the overall product looking well laid out. It makes you want to flick through the book to enjoy the illustrations because the highlight of this book is the wealth of exquisite illustrations and plates with the clear and concise descriptions which accompanies them. This is a book I have enjoyed reading and it has inspired me to have a go at identifying this challenging group of plants. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to take up this challenge."
– Bruce McGinness, Growing Australian, June 2016

"Grasses are notoriously difficult to identify, ask any botanist. Having evolved along the same basic physical plan and superficially resembling one another, grasses must be identified by studying tiny structures that cannot be observed without magnification. By default, this has traditionally been left to experts, who still have difiiculty separating species. Because of the exactitude involved, written descriptions in botanical atlases and floras are written by and for experts. Most laypeople turn away in bewilderment, wishing that some interpretive guide existed that could help to decipher the code.

And now one does! Ian Clarke's book, Name Those Grasses; Identifying Grasses, Sedges and Rushes, helps those without specialized knowledge use identification manuals and botanical keys, and clarifies the identification of grasses and grass~like plants. Stuffed with practical information, the book is designed, written, and profusely illustrated with ink/scraperboard drawings and color photographs by Clarke. He knows his topic well, having worked in the botanical field for more than 40 years, first for the University of Melbourne School of Botany and later for the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria's identification and information services. He has a longtime interest in botanical illustration and has served on the selection panel for many botanical art exhibitions.

Clarke's passion for his topic shines through as he generously and patiently explains botanical nomenclature, structures, and processes through text and illustration. He seems to have a genuine interest in increasing the reader's knowledge and understanding. The book is incredibly well thought-through, using a logical order to lead the reader through ever-increasingly specific topics. Clarke's clear, direct writing style is well-matched by his excellent drawings, which are both precise and
My first assumption in picking up the book was that it was a field guide to Australian species. I was delighted to find that it is so much more than that. Its purpose is to aid in navigating the complicated topic of regional botanical atlases, information that is international in its scope, I highly recommend it to students, educators, agricultural/liorticultural professionals, naturalists, artists – anyone who is studying botany of any kind, most particularly, the tangled topic of grasses."

– Amelia Hansen, Journal of Natural Science Illustration, 48(2), 2016

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