Friday, June 17, 2016

Grasses in Flower

I have watched as one species of tree after another has flowered and unleashed its pollen on unsuspecting humans.  The last of these was white pine, which made up in sheer volume for its lateness.  But only in the last week or so have gotten noticeably congested--after the trees were finished.  The real summer allergy culprit?  Grasses.

But it's worth it to take your allergy meds so you can enjoy their beauty close-up!  Here are some June-flowering grasses around my yard and neighborhood.  And here are other posts on grass ID and grass sex.

English ryegrass (Lolium perenne) dangles yellow stamens laden with pollen.

Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata) has a bunchy appearance, especially before and after flowering when the flower clusters are more contracted.

Red fescue (Festuca rubra) is often a good guess as a typical lawn grass.

Timothy (Phleum pratense), a European pasture grass, is not yet flowering.

Deertongue can begin flowering even before the flowers completely emerge, 
as befits its Latin name, Panicum clandestinum.

Deertongue flowers are very pretty--even though grass flowers have no petals:
the stigmas (female parts that receive pollen) are a lovely shade of blue.

A luxurious stand of quackgrass (Agropyron repens) at the middle school.  Breathe that pollen!

Possibly Redtop (Agrostis alba)

Smooth brome (Bromus inermis), I think.

Possibly Red Fescue (Festuca rubra), a popular and shade-tolerant lawn grass.

The fescue grass above shows both yellow stamens and also feathery, pollen-accepting stigmas of a most delicate blue.  (To appreciate beauty in flowers so small takes close observation.)

Quackgrass (Agropyron repens) has flower clusters a bit like English Ryegrass,
but they are flat to the stem instead of edge-on to it.

The "prairie garden" beside my house hosts a beautiful stand of Switchgrass
(Panicum virgatum) and Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) that will flower
late in summer, waving their flowers as high as six feet in the air.

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