What are Grasses?

Grass or graminoid: a grass, rush, or sedge species (member of Poaceae, Juncaceae, or Cyperaceae). Members of the lilyfamily, such as beargrass, are often mistakenly assumed to be grasses because of the dense clump of long narrow leaves. True graminoids have thin fine leaves and tiny wind pollinated flowers. Most lilies have thicker fleshier leaves and large regular flowers. In grasses stems are hollow and leaves wrap around stem and are generally attached at nodes or distinct swellings on stem, and they die back at the end of the growing season.

Grasses to Observe

Click on a plant name to the right to access printable Regular or Single Report forms to take with you when you observe your plant. These reporting forms describe the leafing, flowering, and fruiting events to look for.

If the plant you'd like to monitor is not on the list, download our Regular Report or Single Report forms for Grasses which describe the leafing, flowering, and fruiting events to look for.

Two Ways to Observe Grasses

The phases you monitor for Grasses will depend upon whether you are observing your plant using Single Reports or Regular Reports.

Regular Reports: Using Regular Report forms, you track your plant (or plants) throughout a season, recording the dates when key leafing, flowering and fruiting events occur (event-based reporting). The Regular Report phenophases for Grasses are: First Flower Stalk, First Flowering/Pollen, Full Flowering/Pollen, First Ripe Fruit, Full Fruiting, All Leaves Withered.

Single Reports: Using Single Report forms, you select a phase that best describes the leafing, flowering, or fruiting phase that your plant is currently in (ie. Flowers-middle or Flowers-early) on the day you happen to see it (status-based reporting). The Single Report phenophases for Grasses are: Flower Stalk Emerging (None), Flower Stalk Emerging (Middle), Pollen (None), Pollen (Early), Pollen (Middle), Fruit (None), Fruit (Early), Fruit (Middle), Fruit (Late).

Project BudBurst Plants

We have identified 21 Grasses that are easy to identify and widespread across the continental United States.

Big bluestemBig bluestem
Andropogon gerardii
Blue gramaBlue grama
Bouteloua gracilis
Giant sacatonGiant sacaton
Sporobolus wrightii
Indian rice grassIndian rice grass
Achnatherum hymenoides
Koelaria cristata
Kentucky bluegrassKentucky bluegrass
Poa pratensis
Little bluestemLittle bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium
Narrowleaf cattailNarrowleaf cattail
Typha angustifolia
Hesperostipa comata
Parry's oatgrassParry's oatgrass
Danthonia parryi
Purple needlegrassPurple needlegrass
Nassella pulchra
Distichlis spicata
Saltmarsh cordgrassSaltmarsh cordgrass
Spartina alterniflora
Sand lovegrassSand lovegrass
Eragrostis trichodes
Smooth bromeSmooth brome
Bromus inermis
Soft-stem bulrushSoft-stem bulrush
Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani
Hierochloe odorata
Panicum virgatum
Tufted hair grassTufted hair grass
Deschampsia cespitosa
Western wheatgrassWestern wheatgrass
Pascopyrum smithii
Wild riceWild rice
Zizania palustris