How to Know Grasses by the Leaves
Archibald N. M'Alpine
“A want has long been felt of some simple and attractive guide to the identification of the common pasture grasses by their leaves” — so reads the preface of this vintage book, written in 1890 by an Edinburgh professor of botany.
Of course Scotland's native pasture grasses are our exotics, but they are here, and the ability to identify them vegetatively would be more than useful. To quote the preface again:
“The keystone of success... lies in... the ease with which the five most common grasses in pastures — Ryegrass, Fescue, Dogstail, Holcus, and Foxtail — can with the greatest certainty be eliminated from the mass of herbage, and separated from one another, by the colours of the bases of their leaf sheaths. This... is what no one who before endeavored to formulate a scheme for the identification of grasses by their foliage, has ever noticed.... The great bulk of the work of separation can be carried through by the aid of the naked eye, and simply at a glance.”