What are GRAMINEES, their characteristics, types and examples - Summary

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Grasses are a family of plants sadly known by the large number of people allergic to them around the world. However, these plants are present in our lives far beyond the problems that they can cause as allergens, and it is that products as common as rice, wheat or even sugar cane belong to grasses.

Do you want to learn more about grass plants? Keep reading us in this Green Ecologist article in which we explain what are grasses, their characteristics, types and examples.

What are grasses - definition and characteristics

Its scientific name is Poaceae, although they are much better known by their common name: grasses. It is a large family of plants with more than 12,000 species, the vast majority of them herbaceous, and they are the most economically important plant family in the world. Here we talk about main characteristics of grass plants:

  • Its great importance is due to the fact that a good part of human nutrition is based on them, either directly, in the form of cereal grains, flours and oils, or indirectly, since they are also used forage grasses to feed poultry and livestock around the world.
  • They tend to be perennial or annual, and their hollow, cylindrical stems are commonly called white hair.
  • Their hermaphrodite flowers are grouped in spikes, which contain several spikelets and their leaves vary enormously given the great diversity of the family.
  • They are very cosmopolitan plants, which have spread widely and occupy, in fact, one-fifth of the earth's vegetation.
  • Most of them blooms in spring, but its large number of species and great diversity means that practically throughout the year we can find flowering grass plants, as allergy sufferers will well know.
  • The grass allergy It is quite common in countries where they are quite present and the climate is generally not very humid, as is the case in Spain. Symptoms of this allergy tend to include nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing, watery eyes and itchy eyes.

Types of grasses - examples of plants

As we have said, grasses are plants with a first order importance at the world economic level. These are some examples of grass species best known:

  • Birdseed
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Bamboo
  • Sugar cane
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Falaris
  • Fescue
  • Corn
  • Son
  • Ovillo pasture
  • Sorghum
  • Wheat

Although traditionally grasses were not used for decoration other than as grass, in recent years there has been a boom in the ornamental use of these plants. These are some of the types of grasses most used ornamentally:

  • Muhlenbergia capillaris
  • Typha latifolia
  • Pennisetum alopecuroides Hameln
  • Imperata cylindrical Red Baron
  • Cymbopogon nardus
  • Naseela tenuissima
  • Carex buchananii
  • Miscanthus sinensis zebrinus
  • Ammophila arenaria
  • Fescue glauca
  • Panicum virgatum
  • Acorus gramineus
  • Cortaderia Senorla
  • Calamagrostis acutiflora
  • Ophiopogon japonicum
  • Ophiopogon nigra
  • Lagurus ovatus
  • Juncus patens
  • Holcus mollis Albovariegatus
  • Cyperus papirus
  • Bambusoideae

Ornamental grasses - examples

Let's take a closer look at some of the ornamental grasses with which we can improve the environment of our house or garden.


Bamboos are a whole subfamily of grasses, also of enormous importance for humans, especially in Asia, where they have traditionally been used to make all kinds of tools and structures.

They are both woody and herbaceous plants, fast growing and found naturally on all continents except Europe. They tend to be evergreen, although their more than 1,500 species give them great diversity. The ornamental bamboos They are mainly divided between invaders and non-invaders according to their aggressiveness when expanding through the terrain, although non-invaders are of much higher aerial growth.

They come in a wide variety of sizes, and are highly appreciated for their resistance, their high growth speed and their ability to stay green all year round even in cold climates, as well as being used as windbreaks or space dividers that hardly need any maintenance. Among the most common are the following:

  • Bambusa vulgaris
  • Bambusa tuldoides
  • Bambusa ventricosa
  • Guadua chacoensis
  • Thyrsostachys siamensis
  • Bambusa oldhamii
  • Fungus fargesia

Here you can discover more types of bamboo.

Typha latifolia

It is usually called reed or enea and it is a common plant of tropical or subtropical zones of the North hemisphere, especially in marshy lands. It stands out for requiring a high level of humidity, although not of nutrients, since it grows even in not very fertile soils. It blooms in summer and can grow to heights of over 2 meters.

Cymbopogon nardus

Much better known by its common name: citronella or lemongrass, is a grass that comes from Ceylon and other regions of warm climate of Asia. It is very common to add it to gardens due to its ability to keep unwanted insects away, which is why it is also used in the manufacture of mosquito repellants.

Fescue glauca

This beautiful grass stands out for the bluish-green color of its leaves, in the form of narrow ribbons, which give rise to a very striking and decorative almost spherical bush in almost any garden. It reaches heights of up to 25 cm and is native to the northeastern United States.

If you want to read more articles similar to What are grasses, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

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