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Feature Expedition

Grasses (Poaceae) from Central and South America at the Kew Herbarium Series - Part II

SpecimensRoyal Botanic Gardens - Kew

Travel across South and Central America with us in the second instalment of our three part series discovering and transcribing specimens from the Poaceae (Grass) family!

The Poaceae family has around 780 genera and 12,000 species. It is the most economically important plant family as it provides domestic cereal crops, such as millet, wheat, maize and rice. A secondary product of maize (Zea mays) is ethanol and maize can be fermented and distilled to produce alcoholic beverages. Species of Poaceae can also be used as building materials and biofuel. Poaceae can be perennial or annual, members of the family are usually terrestrial and free-standing.

Grasses have adapted to a vast variety of environments and can grow in the coldest regions at high elevations, in deserts and in aquatic habitats. Civilisations have also created habitats for many grasses through the human necessity for lawns, pastures, and crops. Poaceae dominate the low temperate grasslands of the South American Pampas, but also grow extensively across the rest of South America.

Remember to check our tutorial for guidance, and post in the expedition forum if you have any queries!

Happy Transcribing!


Further reading:

Growing our knowledge of grasses

The Digital Revolution project at Kew


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