A very common plant consisting of a huge number of spiny (pointed), green and skinny leaves that we see covering the soil surfaces on the ground is understood as Grass.
It is a monocotyledonous, tracheophyte with slender leaves growing from the soil. Grass belongs to Poaceae (Gramineae), Sedges (Cyperaceae) and Rushes(Juncaceae) family. These 3 families belong to completely different clades within the order Poales. The evolution of grasses is often dated back before the time of archosaurian reptiles as Dinosaur dung are found containing phytoliths that are silica stones within grass leaves.
In this lesson, we will be concerning the Grass-Root System besides its uses and a few fascinating facts about grasses around the globe.
- It is a monocot, nonwoody plant with slim leaves growing from the bottom.
- Grass belongs to Poaceae (Gramineae), sedges (Cyperaceae) and rushes(Juncaceae) family. These three families belong to totally different clades within the order Poales.
- Approximately 10,000 species of Poaceae family are true Grasses having 600 genera, although various other flowering plant families are morphologically similar to Grasses, therefore, they’re also sometimes called as Grasses, for example, reeds, papyrus, and water chestnut.
- Grasses are classified into Turfs (lawn Grass), Cereals (used as food), Bamboo and Grassland.
- Grasses are cosmopolitan, that is, found everywhere in the world. Grasses have survived the conditions in cold mountains, rain forests, deserts and even seacoast habitats and currently, it is the most widespread plant kind.
- Leaves of the Grasses are thin and long having parallel veins and shoots have swollen nodes.
- Flowers of Grasses are called florets. Florets are small in size and can be monoecious or dioecious.
- Length of Grasses varies from species to species, that is, from smallest species having a length of only 0.79-1.18 inches (2-3 centimetres) to large Bamboos growing up to 98.4 feet (30 meters) tall.
- Fruits of the Grasses is known as caryopsis which is single-seeded and contains a huge amount of starch in them.
- Pollination in Grasses occurs mostly via wind (Wind Pollination) when their pollens are shed off and are carried away to other Grasses.
Grass Root System
The main function of the root is to anchor plants to the soil and to conduct and absorb water and essential minerals from the soil. Often roots are ignored due to being out of sight but it is known that to grow a healthy green layer of turf, it is essential to have healthy roots working underground.
In case of grass plants, the roots get flourished quite deeper into the soil before shoot emerges out of the ground surface. The Grass Roots can reach up to 6 inches in depth within two weeks.
The root systems of grasses can be mainly categorised into two types based on their period of development and location, that is, Primary Roots and Adventitious Roots
Primary Root System of Grass plants
The primary root system is that system within which roots develops from the embryo during the germination of the seeds. In the case of the annual Grass root species, the primary roots thrive and are the ones responsible for the absorption of water and nutrients from the soil. But in case of Perrinial Grass root species, these Primary roots only survive for a couple of months before dying off. These primary roots are then replaced by the second type of root system found in Grasses, that is, adventitious root system.
Adventitious Root System of Grass plants
The adventitious root system is that system in which roots develop from the nodes of the crown and lateral stems. It is a replacement of the primary root system in Grasses. The adventitious root system functions throughout the lifetime of the shoot, however, the longevity is ruled partially by defoliation management as well as with seed production.
The growth of roots could be a result of the enlargement of freshly developed cells resulting from the division of meristematic layer of the cells present just behind the root cap. Maturation and differentiation of elongated cells perform the development of specialized tissues for transporting water and nutrients to other plant parts.
The root hair absorbs the water and diverts it into the endodermal cells following the formation of a diffusion gradient which carries that absorbed water into the conducting cells of the vascular tissue, that is xylem.
As described earlier, we can simply classify Grass species as perennial rooting and annual rooting, referring to how often the primary root system of a Grass species is replaced by the adventitious root system. Kentucky Bluegrass has its root stay for over a year (perennial rooting) whereas Bentgrass, Bermudagrass, Byegrass etc. generate new roots every year (annual rooting).
Functions of Grass Root
Roots of grass play an essential role in maintaining the greenery above the ground. These roots mainly perform three major functions that are;
- Roots provide anchorage to the Grasses so as not to get blown or washed away.
- Absorption is the primary function of roots and in case of Grasses as well, these roots provide the plant with water and nutrients absorbed from the soil.
- Roots synthesise the two major hormones, that is, Cytokinin and Gibberellin which are essential for the shoot growth and development. That is, roots control the growth of the whole plant.
Uses of Grass plants
- The grass is employed as food like Corn, Wheat, Barley, Oats, millet, and rice.
- Some species of grass are grown as garden ornaments.
- Grasses are used as cover plants to control soil errosion.
- Grasses are used to form sports turfs.
- It is utilized in the formation of alcohol and brew.
- Sugar obtained from the plant sugarcane which is also a plant of Grass family.
- The grass is consumed by several animals and is often placed first in many food chains. It is regarded as the primary source of energy for grazing animals.
- The grass is additionally used as fuel, roofs, weaving baskets and for insulation.
- Bamboo (a form of grass) is employed to create homes, fence, piece of furniture etc.
Interesting Facts about Grass plants
- The presence of Grasses on the earth has bee discovered even before the Dinosaurs era.
- Rice, sugarcane, bamboo and lots of alternative helpful plants come from the Grass family.
- The Indian forest act, 1972, had listed Bamboo as a tree but later in 2017, the Indian government amended this act enlisting the Bamboo as a Grass which made its cultivation legal.
- It is said that grass should not be cut because when we shred the grass it causes brown spots in the lawn. Once the grass has grown fully up to almost nine inches, it’ll cut itself from rock bottom.