The Morphology of Grasses: Morphological Characteristics of Grasses

Pasture and forage crops have unique characteristics that can easily be used to identify them in the field. These morphological differences have a direct effect on the forage yield and quality of the plants. Animals graze the leafy parts of the plants first before other parts are eaten.

This is because the leaves are more palatable and nutritious compared to the stems or branches. Studying the morphological parts of pasture and forage crops will enable us to know how to properly utilize our pasture and forage resources.

Morphology of Grasses

Grasses have two different parts. These include The root and the shoot.

The root of grasses is fibrous in structure and it occurs in tussock or bunch depending on the specie. However, some grass species such as Sorghum bicolor may have a long fibrous rooting system that could go deep into the soil in search of moisture.

The root contains small root hairs that are used for the absorption of water and minerals from the soil. Generally, the roots of grasses are shallow compared to those of legumes and shrubs. Some grasses have rhizomes (underground storage organs that assist the grass to survive harsh conditions such as drought).

The shoot of grasses is divided into two parts-the stems and the inflorescence (flower). The stem is made up of leaves, nodes, and inter-nodes. The leaves are attached to the stem at the leaf sheath (a thin leathery cover that holds the leaf).

Read Also: Common Forage Crops used in Livestock Feeding

The leaves of grasses have parallel venation patterns with a central mid-rib at the center. The leaf blade is found at the edges, which could be very sharp in some species. Some hairs may be present under the leaf blade in some grass species.

The inflorescence or flower is the reproductive part of the grass. It is found at the topmost end of the plant. It is made up of spikes and spikelets. Other patterns of arrangement of flowers on the spike are possible.

 It is important to note that in some grass species, there may be many stems when the grass has stolons (structures that enable the stem to extend to other parts thereby forming a network of stems).

In conclusion, pasture and forage crops have unique characteristics that can easily be used to identify them in the field. These morphological differences have a direct effect on the forage yield and quality of the plants. Animals graze the leafy parts of the plants first before other parts are eaten.

This is because the leaves are more palatable and nutritious compared to the stems or branches. Studying the morphological parts of pasture and forage crops will enable us to know how to properly utilize our pasture and forage resources.

Grasses are morphologically divided into fibrous roots and shoots (leaves, stems, and flowers). Legumes are divided into roots, branches, leaves, and flowers

Shrubs are like forage legumes except that they have more woody stems, leaves, and flowers and their height is up to 4 meters.

Read Also: Definition and Classification of Pasture Plants

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Benadine Nonye

An Agric. Consultant & a Writer (With over 12 years of professional experience in the agricultural industry) - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Visit My Websites On: Agric4profits.com - It's All About Agriculture, The Way Forward! Agric4profit.com - The Most Reliable Global Agricultural Forum! Agric4profit.com.ng - The Most Reliable Nigeria's Agricultural Job Board! TheAgriPedia.com - For Everything Premium Agriculture! WealthinWastes.com - For Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices. Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4ProfitsTV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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