All Flesh is as Grass – a Blog about Grass, Reeds and Ferns
It’s not about botany and the botany is complicated. After  Lichen, Moss and Fungus I thought the next general blog topic should include both grass and ferns, which are not particularly related to each other. But there will be a botanical introduction. (Don’t worry, there won’t be a test.)
Grass and Reeds
I turned to Wikipedia, as always, and for ‘Grass’ it took me to the family Poaceae, a very large almost ubiquitous family of flowering plants (with about 12 000 species) , including bamboos and cereal crops. They have hollow stems and narrow alternate leaves. Variously named grasslands including pampas, prairie and savannah make up 40% of the land area of Earth and grass plays its part in other habitats such as wetlands and forests.
In its wisdom Wikipedia added that Seagrasses, (four separate families,) Rushes (Juncaceae) and Sedges (Cyperaceae) are not actually grasses although there are superficial similarities.
Anyway I though reeds were like grasses so I looked them up and the answer was glaringly obvious. Reeds are several grass-like plants including some grasses, some sedges and some from some other families!
So I’m stepping up a level and my definition of grasses may include all of the order Poales, so I will include all grasses and reeds. [No, I’m not including Bromeliads. My pictures of grass will be things that look like grass.]
I won’t concentrate on well managed lawns or even rough domestic grass.
This will be more or less a picture blog. Here are some pictures of many varieties of much taller grass – in my usual random order. Some is cultivated in fields for cattle or crops. Some grows wild almost everywhere, particularly beside water.
I thought this would be an easy one, a tall grass grown ornamentally. Wikipedia says it may refer to: Cortaderia selloana, Cortaderia jubata, Erianthus ravennae (Saccharum ravennae) or Miscanthus sinensis! I suspect the one I normally see is the first one in this list.
It is now quite common and I pass some every day but the largest area I see is at Slimbridge. You can’t miss it even when it has been heavily pruned for winter.
We all know about Bamboo. It’s very tall grass and it grows fast. It’s a subfamily, Bambusoideae, of the grass family.
It is seen occasionally as a feature in large ornamental gardens.
We have wheat or corn, widely grown as a crop to make flour. We also have barley, rye, oats and maize. They originate from species of wild grasses and have been cultivated and developed for thousands of years. There are various differences in terminology, especially between the UK and the USA so I won’t be specific. (I don’t always go with Wikipedia because sometimes it favours US usage.) Here are some pictures of arable crops of the grass family.
Here are some grass-like plants near or in water that may be reeds. Some of them are what I would call bulrushes.
Ferns are different to most plants (including grass.) They have no flowers or seeds but reproduce asexually by spores. Most have ‘fiddleheads’ that uncoil into fronds. Taxonomy is complicate but they make up roughly a phylum (Division) of plants.
In practice the one we see is always Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum.)
Before I finish I have to say something about the title. All I could find was a few Biblical quotations. From the King James Version I went for 1 Peter Chapter 1, from Verse 23.
Being King born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.
The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever…
And I have kept a few pictures for the end. Grass is always impressive when silhouetted against the sky.