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Poaceae (Graminae)

This family includes food crops, turf, and important industrial crops. Poaceae is the most important family of food crops, including the cereals, wheat Triticum, corn Zea and rice (Oryza). Other economic uses of cereals or their byeproducts iclude newsprint, ethyl alcohol, and insulation materials. The family includes turf grasses and many other ornamental grasses. Some members of the Poceae form the dominant vegatation in warm and temperate regions where the rainfall does not support trees.

Features of the Poaceae include:

  • either annuals or perennials.
  • alternate leaves with extended blades and clasping sheath
  • stems, or culms, are normally hollow and round, and enclosed by leaf sheaths.
  • all species have parallel leaf venation.
  • flowers form a in a spikelet with a primary axis called the rachilla
  • sepals and petals are absent; there are two glumes or bracts at the base of the spikelet, and each flower is usually enclosed in two further bracts, the lemma and palea.
  • normally there are three stamens and only one pistil with two stigma
  • the ovary is superior and contains one ovule forming an achene like fruit or caryopsis

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