Spermatophyta: Monocotyledonae: Poales

Poaceae - Grass family


Bennett, K.E. (1980) Keys to Zimbabwean grass species. Kirkia 11(2) 169-286

Clayton, W.D. (1970) Poaceae Flora of Tropical East Africa Part 1

Clayton, W.D. (1989) Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(3)

Clayton, W.D. & Renvoize, S.A. (1982) Poaceae Flora of Tropical East Africa Part 3

Clayton, W.D. & Renvoize, S.A. (1986) Genera Graminum. Grasses of the World. HMSO, London

Clayton, W.D. et al. (1974) Poaceae Flora of Tropical East Africa Part 2

Cope, T.A. (1999) Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(2)

Cope, T.A. (2002) Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(4)

Gibbs Russell, G.E. et al. (1990) Grasses of Southern Africa. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria

Launert, E. (1971) Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(1)

Description of the family

Annual or perennial herbs, rarely woody, often with rhizomes or stolons. Culms usually cylindric, usually hollow but solid at the nodes. Leaves: alternate, 2-ranked, simple, consisting of sheath, ligule and lamina; sheath surrounding the stem, usually open; ligule usually present at junction of sheath and lamina, membranous, a row of hairs or 0; lamina linear to filiform, rarely lanceolate or ovate. Inflorescence consisting of numerous spikelets arranged in a spike, raceme or panicle. The basic unit of the inflorescence is the spikelet, consisting of a number of florets arranged distichously along an axis (rhachilla). At the base of the spikelet are 2 (rarely 0, 1 or more than 2) empty bracts (glumes). Each floret is enclosed within an outer bract (lemma) and an inner bracteole (palea). The palea is usually membranous and 2-keeled, the lemma is usually tougher and often awned. The lemma, palea and flowering parts are together called the floret. Flowers usually bisexual, but sometimes unisexual. Perianth represented by 2(–3) minute hyaline fleshy scales (lodicules). The base of the spikelet or floret may have a horny prolongation downwards (callus). Stamens (1-)3(-6); anthers versatile. Ovary superior, 1-locular with 1 ovule often attached to the adaxial side of the loculus, to a point or line visible in fruit as the hilum. Styles (1-)2(-3), generally with plumose stigmas. Fruit 1-seeded, usually a caryopsis, rarely with seed free from the pericarp.

Worldwide: 668 genera and 9,500 species, cosmopolitan, but especially tropical and northern temperate sub-arid areas.

Malawi: 122 genera and 456 taxa.

Insects associated with this family:

Acraea johnstoni (Johnston's acraea)
Bicyclus safitza (Common bush brown)
Bicyclus safitza (Common bush brown (dry season form))
Borbo borbonica (Olive-haired swift)
Melanitis leda (Common evening brown, Twilight brown)
Utetheisa pulchella (Crimson-speckled footman)
Ypthimomorpha itonia (Marsh ringlet)
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Links to genera:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this family

Acrachne Wight & Arn. ex Chiov.Description
Acroceras StapfDescription
Agrostis L.Description
Aira L.Description
Alloeochaete C.E. Hubb.Description
Alloteropsis C. PreslDescription
Andropogon L.Description
Andropterum StapfDescription
Anthephora Schreb.Description
Anthoxanthum L.Description
Aristida L.Description
Arthraxon P. Beauv.Description
Arundinella RaddiDescription
Bewsia Gooss.Description
Bothriochloa KuntzeDescription
Brachiaria (Trin.) Griseb.Description
Brachyachne (Benth.) StapfDescription
Brachypodium P. Beauv.Description
Bromus L.Description
Capillipedium StapfDescription
Cenchrus L.Description
Chloris Sw.Description
Chrysochloa SwallenDescription
Chrysopogon Trin.Description
Cleistachne Benth.Description
Coelachne R. Br.Description
Coelorachis Brongn.Description
Coix L.Description
Craspedorhachis Benth.Description
Crypsis AitonDescription
Ctenium Panz.Description
Cymbopogon Spreng.Description
Cynodon Rich.Description
Dactyloctenium Willd.Description
Dichanthium WillemetDescription
Digitaria HallerDescription
Diheteropogon (Hack.) StapfDescription
Echinochloa P. Beauv.Description
Ehrharta Thunb.Description
Eleusine Gaertn.Description
Elionurus Kunth ex Willd.Description
Elymandra StapfDescription
Enteropogon NeesDescription
Entolasia StapfDescription
Eragrostis WolfDescription
Eriochloa KunthDescription
Eriochrysis P. Beauv.Description, Image
Euclasta Franch.Description
Eulalia KunthDescription
Eustachys Desv.Description
Exotheca AnderssonDescription
Festuca L.Description
Gilgiochloa Pilg.Description
Habrochloa C.E. Hubb.Description
Hackelochloa KuntzeDescription
Hemarthria R.Br.Description
Heteropholis C.E. Hubb.Description
Heteropogon Pers.Description, Image
Homozeugos StapfDescription
Hyparrhenia Fourn.Description
Hyperthelia ClaytonDescription
Imperata CirilloDescription
Isachne R. Br.Description
Ischaemum L.Description, Image
Koeleria Pers.Description
Leersia Sw.Description
Leptocarydion StapfDescription
Leptochloa P. Beauv.Description
Lepturus R. Br.Description
Loudetia Steud.Description
Megastachya P. Beauv.Description
Melinis P. Beauv.Description
Microchloa R.Br.Description
Monocymbium StapfDescription
Neyraudia Hook. f.Description
Olyra L.Description
Oplismenus P. Beauv.Description
Oreobambos K.Schum.Description
Oryza L.Description
Oxytenanthera MunroDescription
Panicum L.Description
Paspalidium StapfDescription
Paspalum L.Description
Pentaschistis (Nees) SpachDescription
Perotis AitonDescription
Phacelurus Griseb.Description
Phragmites Adans.Description
Phyllorachis TrimenDescription
Poa L.Description
Poecilostachys Hack.Description
Pogonarthria StapfDescription
Pseudechinolaena StapfDescription
Pseudobromus K. Schum.Description
Rhytachne Desv. ex Ham.Description
Rottboellia L.f.Description
Rytidosperma Steud.Description
Saccharum L.Description
Sacciolepis NashDescription
Schizachyrium NeesDescription
Schmidtia Steud. ex J.A. SchmidtDescription
Sehima Forssk.Description
Setaria P. Beauv.Description, Image
Sinarundinaria Nakai
Sorghastrum NashDescription
Sorghum MoenchDescription
Sporobolus R. Br.Description
Stereochlaena Hack.Description
Stipa L.Description
Streblochaete Pilg.Description
Thelepogon Roem. & Schult.Description
Themeda Forssk.Description
Trachypogon NeesDescription, Image
Tragus HallerDescription
Tricholaena Schrad. ex Schult. & Schult. f.Description
Trichopteryx NeesDescription
Tripogon Roem. & Schult.Description
Trisetopsis Röser & Wölk, A.Description
Tristachya NeesDescription
Urelytrum Hack.Description
Urochloa P. Beauv.Description, Image
Vossia Wall. & Griff.Description
Zonotriche (C.E. Hubb.) J.B. PhippsDescription

Other sources of information about Poaceae:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Poaceae
Flora of Botswana: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Caprivi: Poaceae
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Malawi: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Mozambique: Poaceae
Flora of Mozambique: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Zambia: Poaceae
Flora of Zambia: cultivated Poaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: Poaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Poaceae

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Poaceae
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Poaceae
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Poaceae
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Poaceae
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Poaceae
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Poaceae
JSTOR Plant Science: Poaceae
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Poaceae
Wikipedia: Poaceae
Plants of the World Online: Poaceae
Tropicos: Poaceae

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Malawi: Family page: Poaceae.
https://www.malawiflora.com/speciesdata/family.php?family_id=177, retrieved 22 April 2024

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