Monday, April 20, 2009


Sedges, Rushes, and Grasses

Richard L. Scheffel, ed., ABC's of Nature (Pleasantville: Reader's Digest Association, 1984), p. 132:
Sedges and rushes are often confused with grasses, for all three usually have long thin stems and long, relatively narrow leaves with parallel veins. The stems furnish the best clue for distinguishing among the three groups. Grasses have round, hollow stems with solid joints called nodes. (A few exceptional species have stems that are completely solid.) In contrast, sedges usually have solid, three-sided stems with no joints. Rushes usually have wiry, round stems and bear their seeds in little pods.
A bit of doggerel serves as a handy mnemonic device. The first two lines are usually the same:
Sedges have edges,
Rushes are round,
but there are many variants of the remaining lines, a few of which are:
Grasses are hollow.
What have you found?

And grasses are hollow
From top to ground.

Grasses are hollow
Right up from the ground.

And grasses, like asses,
Have holes.
In some variants, the distinguishing feature of grasses isn't the hollow stem, but the joints or nodes:
Grasses have nodes,
From the blades to the ground.

Grasses have joints,
If the cops aren't around.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?