Native & Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia

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bookcover How to Identify Grasses and Grasslike Plants by H.D. Harrington

How to Identify Grasses & Grasslike Plants

H.D. Harrington

There is no easy way to identify grasses. And no one understood this better than H.D. Harrington, who observed thousands of students struggle and learn. His clear, concise, and well-organized guide, now digitally enhanced for the students of today, will continue to be a comprehensive and essential text for use in the classroom or in the field.

Contains over 500 drawings and an illustrated glossary, and begins with — of all things — a poem!

The Identification of Grasses

A grass can be “glumey” in more ways than one, When its classification remains to be done; You pull off the parts, and soon feel your age Chasing them over the microscope stage!

You peer through the lenses at all of the bracts And hope your decisions agree with the facts; While your oculist chortles with avid delight As you strain both your eyes in the dim table light.

You are left on the horns of quite a dilemma When you count the nerves on the back of the lemma; Then you really get snoopy and turn each one turtle To see if the flower is sterile or fertile.

And then the compression, no problem is meaner — Is it flat like your wallet or round like a wiener? “How simple,” you think, “for a mind that is keen” — But what do you do when it’s half-way between?

You probe and you guess how the florets will shatter, For you know later on it is certain to matter; You long for the calmness of labor that’s manual When the question arises — “perennial” or “annual”?

And that terrible texture, the meanest of all, Is one of the pitfalls in which you can fall; “Cartilaginous” maybe — or is it “chartaceous”? Has even the experts exclaiming “Good gracious!”

Then you wail as you wade through the long tribal key, “Oh, why must this awful thing happen to me?” “Grasses are easy,” our teacher declares, As he mops off a brow that is crowned with gray hairs!

Swallow Press/Ohio University Press.

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