Grasses are plants with long, linear leaves growing from the base of the plant and tiny, wind-pollinated flowers.
The stems are hollow, and leaves wrap around the stem and are generally attached at nodes or distinct swellings on the stem. Grasses die back at the end of the growing season. Examples include Kentucky bluegrass, big bluestem, and wild rice.
At Budburst we also include in this grouping plants that have a grass-like appearance and exhibit similar phenophases; these include cattails, sedges, and rushes.
Plants are unique, and one phase on one grass species might look a little different than the same phase on another grass species. Full Flowering/Pollen looks different for Little bluestem than it does for Parry’s oatgrass.
Correct identification of flowering and fruiting events for this plant group usually requires a magnifying glass or macro lens.
No Flowering Stalks
No flower stalks have emerged.
First flower stalk is emerging from the stem of the grass and you can see the first flower cluster (spikelet) rising above the leaves of the stem.
Only a few flower stalks have emerged (less than 5%).
Many flower stalks have emerged.
No pollen is falling.
Plant starts releasing the powdery yellow pollen when touched. When open, grass flowers will release yellow pollen dust when touched.
Some pollen is falling (less than 5%).
Half or more of the grass flowers are open and releasing pollen.
No Ripe Fruit
No ripe fruits or seeds visible.
First Ripe Fruit
First fruits becoming fully ripe or seeds dropping naturally from the plant. For grasses, fruits are fully ripe when the seed is hard when squeezed and is difficult to divide with a fingernail.
Only a few ripe fruits or seeds are visible (less than 5%).
Half or more of the fruits or seeds are fully ripe.
Most fruits or seeds have been dispersed from the plant (over 95%).
First Leaf Emerged
First leaf has emerged. The leaf shape should be clearly visible above ground.
Most or all of the leaves that developed this season are green and healthy or green at their base. Note that cool-season grasses often die back during dry or hot periods, but are still green at the base of the leaves so are in the "middle" stage.
All Leaves Withered
Most or all of the leaves that developed this season have lost green color or are dried and dead. Note that cool-season grasses often die back during dry or hot periods, but are still green at the base of the leaves so have not yet reached the “all leaves withered” stage.
Find a Budburst Grass Species
Here are some examples of Grass species
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Budburst is a project of the
Chicago Botanic Garden
One of the treasures of the
Forest Preserves of Cook County