New approach to stem soil erosion

Topsoil and nutrient runoff are two serious challenges of sustainable agriculture. Perennial crops can help solve these problems by preserving cropland productivity without requiring substantial dietary and manufacture shifts. ...

Woolly stars need catastrophes to live

A small, crunchy, spiny plant redefines toughness as it thrives on catastrophic flooding. The endangered Santa Ana Woolly Star does not just prosper with floods, though; it depends on them. Thanks to a huge dam, natural floods ...

A new species of huntsman spider described

Senckenberg scientist Dr. Peter Jäger has described four new species in the huntsman spider family. One of the newly discovered animals reveals a surprising specialization: It makes its home inside of bamboo. To enter the ...

How our plants have turned into thieves to survive

Scientists have discovered that grasses are able to short cut evolution by taking genes from their neighbours. The findings suggest wild grasses are naturally genetically modifying themselves to gain a competitive advantage.

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Grass

Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae (or Gramineae) family, as well as the sedges (Cyperaceae) and the rushes (Juncaceae). The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns (turf) and grassland. Sedges include many wild marsh and grassland plants, and some cultivated ones such as water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) and papyrus sedge (Cyperus papyrus). Uses for graminoids include food (as grain, sprouted grain, shoots or rhizomes), drink (beer, whisky), pasture for livestock, thatch, paper, fuel, clothing, insulation, construction, sports turf, basket weaving and many others.

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