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.

Caprivi: 97 cultivated genera and 315 cultivated taxa.

Insects associated with this family:

Acraea johnstoni (Johnston's acraea)
Bicyclus safitza (Common bush brown (dry season form))
Bicyclus safitza (Common bush brown)
Borbo borbonica (Olive-haired swift)
Melanitis leda (Common evening brown, Twilight brown)
Utetheisa pulchella (Crimson-speckled footman)
Ypthimomorpha itonia (Marsh ringlet)
Cynodon dactylon

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

Acritochaete Pilg.Description
Acroceras StapfDescription
Agrostis L.Description
Aira L.Description
Alloteropsis C. PreslDescription
Andropogon L.Description
Andropterum StapfDescription
Anthephora Schreb.Description
Aristida L.Description, Image
Arthraxon P. Beauv.Description
Arundinella RaddiDescription, Image
Avena L.Description
Axonopus P. Beauv.Description
Bambusa Schreb.Description
Bothriochloa KuntzeDescription, Image
Brachiaria (Trin.) Griseb.Description, Image
Brachypodium P. Beauv.Description
Briza L.Description, Image
Bromus L.Description, Image
Cenchrus L.Description, Image
Chasmopodium StapfDescription
Chloris Sw.Description, Image
Chrysochloa SwallenDescription
Cleistachne Benth.Description
Coelachne R. Br.Description
Coelorachis Brongn.Description
Coix L.Description
Ctenium Panz.Description
Cymbopogon Spreng.Description
Cynodon Rich.Description, Image
Dactyloctenium Willd.Description, Image
Digitaria HallerDescription, Image
Diheteropogon (Hack.) StapfDescription
Dinebra Jacq.Description
Echinochloa P. Beauv.Description, Image
Eleusine Gaertn.Description
Elionurus Kunth ex Willd.Description, Image
Eragrostis WolfDescription, Image
Eriochloa KunthDescription
Eriochrysis P. Beauv.Description, Image
Euclasta Franch.Description
Eulalia KunthDescription
Exotheca AnderssonDescription
Festuca L.Description
Gilgiochloa Pilg.Description
Glyceria R.Br.
Hackelochloa KuntzeDescription
Harpachne Hochst. ex A. Rich.Description, Image
Hemarthria R.Br.Description
Heteranthoecia StapfDescription
Heteropogon Pers.Description, Image
Hubbardochloa AuquierDescription
Hyparrhenia Fourn.Description
Imperata CirilloDescription, Image
Isachne R. Br.Description
Ischaemum L.Description
Leersia Sw.Description, Image
Leptocarydion StapfDescription, Image
Leptochloa P. Beauv.Description
Loudetia Steud.Description, Image
Melinis P. Beauv.Description, Image
Microchloa R.Br.Description, Image
Miscanthus AnderssonDescription
Monocymbium StapfDescription, Image
Olyra L.Description, Image
Oplismenus P. Beauv.Description, Image
Oreobambos K.Schum.Description
Oryza L.Description, Image
Oxytenanthera MunroDescription
Panicum L.Description, Image
Paspalum L.Description, Image
Perotis AitonDescription, Image
Phragmites Adans.Description
Poa L.Description, Image
Poecilostachys Hack.Description, Image
Pogonarthria StapfDescription
Polypogon Desf.Description
Pseudechinolaena StapfDescription
Rhytachne Desv. ex Ham.Description
Rottboellia L.f.Description, Image
Sacciolepis NashDescription, Image
Schizachyrium NeesDescription
Setaria P. Beauv.Description, Image
Shibataea Makino ex Nakai
Sorghastrum NashDescription
Sorghum MoenchDescription, Image
Sporobolus R. Br.Description, Image
Steinchisma Raf.
Themeda Forssk.Description, Image
Trachypogon NeesDescription, Image
Tragus HallerDescription, Image
Trichopteryx NeesDescription, Image
Trisetopsis Röser & Wölk, A.Description
Tristachya NeesDescription
Urelytrum Hack.Description
Urochloa P. Beauv.Description, Image
Vossia Wall. & Griff.Description

Other sources of information about Poaceae:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Poaceae
Flora of Botswana: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Caprivi: 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: 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, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Caprivi: Cultivated plants: Family page: Poaceae.
https://www.capriviflora.com/cult/family.php?family_id=177, retrieved 1 March 2024

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