Grasses and grass-like plants are vascular plants and are annual or perennial in their growth habits.

  • Grasses
  • Compact_Rush by Robin_Sutto

Grasses, Sedges and Rushes

  The reason they are often singled out is because they do not have the showy flowers of many of the other plant families – but have a completely different floral structure, which is wind pollinated so therefore not evolved with the colour and scent to attract invertebrates. This makes their flowers smaller, much more delicate and often more muted colours with subtle greens, browns sometimes with blue and reddish hues.  They are monocotyledons – which means they only have one seed leaf. Just think of a sweet corn pushing up it’s one shoot compared to a broad bean showing two mini leaves when it first sprouts. With similar leaves, growth habits and flowers we have grouped grasses, sedges and rushes all together in this section.  There is a little rhyme to keep them in our heads:

‘Sedges have edges
Rushes are round  
Grasses are hollow
Right down to the ground’

They are fantastic indicators of habitat type but some people find them a little tricky to identify.  This means we have a range of courses to explore a whole range of new terms like glume, palea, lemma and ligule!  A great new vocabulary tio help us understand this vital group of plants and help to identify them in the field. 

Grasses, Sedges and Rushes Courses

Each Eco-Skills course is part of a learning framework.. You can see the course level descriptions here

FSC run regular Grasses and Grass Like Plant courses throughout the year. For details of these courses, and to learn more about grasses and grass like plants view our courses, click the button above.

Find out about bursaries for natural history courses including grasses and grass like plant courses.

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Identification resources:

The FSC Grasses Identification Guide features 30 grasses common in Britain and Ireland.
Beautiful colour paintings of each species include key identification characters, with ligules and flower heads illustrated for each species. A special feature of this chart is a simple-to-use lateral key, which should enable you to identify grasses even when the flower heads are not present.