Spermatophyta: Monocotyledonae: Poales

Poaceae - Grass family


Bennett, K.E. (1980) Keys to Zimbabwean grass species. Kirkia 11(2) 169-286

Clayton, W.D. (1970) Poaceae Flora of Tropical East Africa Part 1

Clayton, W.D. (1989) Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(3)

Clayton, W.D. & Renvoize, S.A. (1982) Poaceae Flora of Tropical East Africa Part 3

Clayton, W.D. & Renvoize, S.A. (1986) Genera Graminum. Grasses of the World. HMSO, London

Clayton, W.D. et al. (1974) Poaceae Flora of Tropical East Africa Part 2

Cope, T.A. (1999) Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(2)

Cope, T.A. (2002) Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(4)

Gibbs Russell, G.E. et al. (1990) Grasses of Southern Africa. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria

Launert, E. (1971) Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(1)

Description of the family

Annual or perennial herbs, rarely woody, often with rhizomes or stolons. Culms usually cylindric, usually hollow but solid at the nodes. Leaves: alternate, 2-ranked, simple, consisting of sheath, ligule and lamina; sheath surrounding the stem, usually open; ligule usually present at junction of sheath and lamina, membranous, a row of hairs or 0; lamina linear to filiform, rarely lanceolate or ovate. Inflorescence consisting of numerous spikelets arranged in a spike, raceme or panicle. The basic unit of the inflorescence is the spikelet, consisting of a number of florets arranged distichously along an axis (rhachilla). At the base of the spikelet are 2 (rarely 0, 1 or more than 2) empty bracts (glumes). Each floret is enclosed within an outer bract (lemma) and an inner bracteole (palea). The palea is usually membranous and 2-keeled, the lemma is usually tougher and often awned. The lemma, palea and flowering parts are together called the floret. Flowers usually bisexual, but sometimes unisexual. Perianth represented by 2(–3) minute hyaline fleshy scales (lodicules). The base of the spikelet or floret may have a horny prolongation downwards (callus). Stamens (1-)3(-6); anthers versatile. Ovary superior, 1-locular with 1 ovule often attached to the adaxial side of the loculus, to a point or line visible in fruit as the hilum. Styles (1-)2(-3), generally with plumose stigmas. Fruit 1-seeded, usually a caryopsis, rarely with seed free from the pericarp.

Worldwide: 668 genera and 9,500 species, cosmopolitan, but especially tropical and northern temperate sub-arid areas.

Zimbabwe: 150 genera and 589 taxa.

Insects associated with this family:
Acraea johnstoni (Johnston's acraea) Larval foodplant
Bicyclus safitza (Common bush brown (dry season form)) Food plant
Bicyclus safitza (Common bush brown) Food plant
Borbo borbonica (Olive-haired swift) Food plant
Melanitis leda (Common evening brown, Twilight brown) Food plant
Utetheisa pulchella (Crimson-speckled footman) Food plant
Ypthimomorpha itonia (Marsh ringlet) Larval foodplant
Danthoniopsis pruinosa

Links to genera:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this family

Acrachne Wight & Arn. ex Chiov.Description, Image
Acroceras StapfDescription
Agrostis L.Description
Aira L.Description
Alloteropsis C. PreslDescription, Image
Andropogon L.Description, Image
Andropterum StapfDescription
Anthephora Schreb.Description
Aristida L.Description, Image
Arthraxon P. Beauv.Description
Arundinella RaddiDescription, Image
Arundo L.Description
Avena L.Description
Axonopus P. Beauv.Description
Bambusa Schreb.Description, Image
Bewsia Gooss.Description
Bothriochloa KuntzeDescription, Image
Brachiaria (Trin.) Griseb.Description, Image
Brachyachne (Benth.) StapfDescription
Brachypodium P. Beauv.Description
Briza L.Description, Image
Bromus L.Description, Image
Capillipedium StapfDescription, Image
Cenchrus L.Description, Image
Chloris Sw.Description, Image
Chrysopogon Trin.Description, Image
Cleistachne Benth.Description
Coelachne R. Br.Description
Coelorachis Brongn.Description
Coix L.Description
Craspedorhachis Benth.Description
Ctenium Panz.Description
Cymbopogon Spreng.Description
Cynodon Rich.Description, Image
Dactylis L.Description
Dactyloctenium Willd.Description, Image
Danthoniopsis StapfDescription, Image
Dichanthium WillemetDescription, Image
Digitaria HallerDescription
Diheteropogon (Hack.) StapfDescription
Dinebra Jacq.Description, Image
Echinochloa P. Beauv.Description, Image
Ehrharta Thunb.Description, Image
Eleusine Gaertn.Description, Image
Elionurus Kunth ex Willd.Description, Image
Elymandra StapfDescription
Elytrophorus P. Beauv.Description
Enneapogon Desv. ex P. Beauv.Description, Image
Enteropogon NeesDescription, Image
Eragrostis WolfDescription, Image
Eriochloa KunthDescription
Eriochrysis P. Beauv.Description, Image
Euclasta Franch.Description
Eulalia KunthDescription, Image
Eustachys Desv.Description
Festuca L.Description
Fingerhuthia NeesDescription
Habrochloa C.E. Hubb.Description
Hackelochloa KuntzeDescription
Harpachne Hochst. ex A. Rich.Description, Image
Hemarthria R.Br.Description, Image
Heteropogon Pers.Description, Image
Holcus L.Description
Hylebates Chippind.Description
Hyparrhenia Fourn.Description
Hyperthelia ClaytonDescription, Image
Imperata CirilloDescription, Image
Isachne R. Br.Description, Image
Ischaemum L.Description, Image
Koeleria Pers.Description
Leersia Sw.Description, Image
Leptaspis R. Br.Description, Image
Leptocarydion StapfDescription
Leptochloa P. Beauv.Description
Lepturus R. Br.Description
Lintonia StapfDescription, Image
Lolium L.Description
Lophacme StapfDescription
Loudetia Steud.Description, Image
Loxodera LaunertDescription
Megaloprotachne C.E. Hubb.Description
Megastachya P. Beauv.Description
Melinis P. Beauv.Description, Image
Microchloa R.Br.Description
Microstegium NeesDescription
Miscanthus AnderssonDescription
Monocymbium StapfDescription, Image
Nematopoa C.E. Hubb.Description
Odyssea StapfDescription
Olyra L.Description
Oplismenus P. Beauv.Description, Image
Oreobambos K.Schum.Description
Oropetium Trin.Description
Oryza L.Description, Image
Oryzidium C.E. Hubb. & Schweick.Description
Oxytenanthera MunroDescription, Image
Panicum L.Description, Image
Paspalidium StapfDescription
Paspalum L.Description, Image
Pentaschistis (Nees) SpachDescription, Image
Perotis AitonDescription, Image
Phacelurus Griseb.Description
Phalaris L.Description, Image
Phragmites Adans.Description, Image
Phyllorachis TrimenDescription
Poa L.Description, Image
Poecilostachys Hack.Description, Image
Pogonarthria StapfDescription, Image
Pogonochloa C.E. Hubb.Description
Polypogon Desf.Description
Pseudechinolaena StapfDescription
Pseudobromus K. Schum.Description
Rhytachne Desv. ex Ham.Description
Rottboellia L.f.Description, Image
Rytidosperma Steud.Description
Sacciolepis NashDescription, Image
Sartidia De WinterDescription
Schizachyrium NeesDescription
Schmidtia Steud. ex J.A. SchmidtDescription, Image
Schoenefeldia KunthDescription
Sehima Forssk.Description
Setaria P. Beauv.Description, Image
Sorghastrum NashDescription
Sorghum MoenchDescription
Sporobolus R. Br.Description, Image
Stenotaphrum Trin.Description, Image
Stereochlaena Hack.Description, Image
Stipagrostis NeesDescription, Image
Streblochaete Pilg.Description
Styppeiochloa De WinterDescription
Tetrapogon Desf.Description, Image
Thelepogon Roem. & Schult.Description
Themeda Forssk.Description, Image
Trachypogon NeesDescription, Image
Tragus HallerDescription, Image
Tribolium Desv.Description
Tricholaena Schrad. ex Schult. & Schult. f.Description
Trichoneura AnderssonDescription
Trichopteryx NeesDescription
Tripogon Roem. & Schult.Description
Triraphis R. Br.Description
Trisetopsis Röser & Wölk, A.Description
Tristachya NeesDescription, Image
Triticum L.Description
Urelytrum Hack.Description
Urochloa P. Beauv.Description, Image
Vossia Wall. & Griff.Description
Willkommia Hack.Description
Zea L.Description
Zonotriche (C.E. Hubb.) J.B. PhippsDescription

Other sources of information about Poaceae:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Poaceae
Flora of Botswana: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Caprivi: Poaceae
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Malawi: Poaceae
Flora of Malawi: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Mozambique: Poaceae
Flora of Mozambique: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Zambia: Poaceae
Flora of Zambia: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Poaceae

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Poaceae
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Poaceae
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Poaceae
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Poaceae
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Poaceae
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Poaceae
JSTOR Plant Science: Poaceae
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Poaceae
Wikipedia: Poaceae
Plants of the World Online: Poaceae
Tropicos: Poaceae

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-23

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2023). Flora of Zimbabwe: Family page: Poaceae.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/family.php?family_id=177, retrieved 3 December 2023

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