Photographing Grasses

    Many grasses need to be examined in detail in order to identify the species, so it is necessary to get close up photographs of all parts of the plant. It is also helpful to make a note of the overall height of the plant and the length of various parts of the plant.

    You will come across a number of unfamiliar terms describing the parts of the plant. Perhaps the most important of these are awn and ligule (see below).

    When you first start recording grasses try to photograph:-

    • The flowering part of the grass to show whether the individual spikelets have awns - these are stiff bristles that protrude from the end of the spikelet.
    • The stem to show whether it is hairy either at the base or for its full length.
    • The leaves – are they ridged, do they have finely toothed edges, are they hairy etc.?
    • The ligule - this is a membranous scale on the inner side of the leaf sheath at its junction with the blade.  It can be revealed by pulling the blade away from the stem at the junction and is very important in identifying grasses.
    • Check to see whether there are stolons and photograph them if present.
    • A photograph from further away to show the general habit of the plant – does it form clumps or tufts, do the leaves droop etc.?

    You may also want to see the FSC Key to Groups of British Grasses.