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How to identify prairie plants?

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Presentation on theme: "How to identify prairie plants?"— Presentation transcript:

1 How to identify prairie plants?
Look at picture books of plants and use dichotomous keys. Pictures in books work best for plants with nice flowers. For grasses, keys are a must. How to decide if a plant is a grass or a flower? How to decide which key to use? Focus for this class is mostly grasses.

2 Which Key to Use First, to which division of the Plant Kingdom does the plant belong? This is based on how the plant reproduces. Spores – Lichen, Mosses & Liverworts, Ferns, (Bryophyta, Pteridophyta) Naked seeds, ie conifers (Gymnospermophyta) Seeds enclosed in an ovary – flowering plants (Angiospermophyta) Montana prairies do include some lichens and mosses, but not ferns (club moss, horsetail, royal fern), unlike UNDERC-East.

3 Prairie Plants = Flowering Plants
Flowering plants include flowers, grasses, deciduous trees. What makes the distinction? Angiosperms are split into 2 classes of plants: those with one seed leaf or Monocotyledoneae; those with 2 seed leaves or Dicotyledoneae. Is your plant a monocot or dicot?

4 Monocots vs Dicots Monocotyledon Class: one seed leaf parallel veins
horizontal rootstalks floral parts mostly in 3’s Dicotyledon class: two seed leaves netted veins tap roots floral parts mostly in 4’s and 5’s

5 IF A MONOCOT Then, is the plant a monocot with showy flowers?
Examples – Lily family, Iris family, Orchid family Or, is the plant a monocot with non-showy flowers? Examples – Grass, Sedge, Rush are only families appearing grasslike. Other aquatic families – cattail, pondweed, etc.

6 IF A DICOT Dicots account for many families with the Aster family as one of the largest. Aster family is the largest family of flowering plants in the northern latitudes – 346 genera and 2,687 species in US & Canada. Then, is your dicot plant a member of the Aster family? Most complex – “sepals” are bracts (ie artichokes), disk flowers and ray flowers Example – dandelion has only ray flowers

7 Composites - Asteraceae

8 IF DICOT IS NOT ASTERACEAE
If there is a flower - make notes on number of sepals, petals, and stamens. Remember the order from outside to inside – Sepals, Petals, Stamens, Pistil in middle – flower parts occur in rings. Note whether flowers are regular or irregular Are sepals united or separate Notice position of leaves – ie alternate, opposite, basal or whorled

9 Keys to Dicot Flowers Regular dicot flowers with numerous petals
Cactus, bitterroot Irregular dicot flowers Teasel, pea, toadflax, penstemon, mint, Indian paintbrush Regular dicot flowers with 3 or 0 petals Spurge (eg poinsetta) Regular dicot flowers with 4 petals Phlox, plantain, harebell, dogwood Regular dicot flowers with 5 united petals Borage (Gromwell), morning glory Regular dicot flowers with 5 separate petals Rose, St Johnswort, Dianthus, Geranium

10 Using keys to plants Variety of keys Some based on colors of flowers
Some technical Regardless, important to keep in mind some basics For example, the following key to get to grasses versus forbs:

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14 Some examples of prairie dicots:
Beebalm, Butter and eggs, yellowbell, Indian paintbrush, Dianthus

15 Arrowleaf Balsamroot. Bitterroot Balsamorhiza sagittata. Lewisia sp
Arrowleaf Balsamroot Bitterroot Balsamorhiza sagittata Lewisia sp Lupine -Lupinus sp.

16 Artemisia dracunculus
SAGES Asteraceae Artemisia frigida Artemisia ludoviciana Artemisia dracunculus

17 4 major North American graminoid plant families:
Typhaceae - cattail (plants 3-6’ tall, flower spike 1” thick and 4-12” long) Juncaceae – rush (flowers not enclosed in chaff-like bracts) – “lilies turned to grass” Poaceae – grass (stems hollow, round; leaves wrapped around stem; leaves in 2 rows) Cyperaceae – sedge (stems solid, triangular; leaf bases forming tubes about the stem; leaves in 3 rows) – “sedges have edges”

18 On to grasses … Grasslands would not be … without grasses – Agrostology = study of grasses Grasses are flowering plants, but the flowers lack showy petals and sepals - seeds are wind-pollinated Grasses are in the family Poaceae Subdivided into 15 Tribes

19 15 major North American grass Tribes
Triticeae: Agropyron, Elymus, Eremopyrum, Hordeum, Secale, Taeniatherum, and Triticum. Aveneae: Agrostis, Alopecurus, Avena, Beckmannia, Calamogrostis, Deschampsia, Helictotrichon, Hierochloe, Holcus, Koeleria, Phalaris, Phleum, Polypogon, Trisetum, and Ventenata. Stipeae: Stipa and Oryzopsis. Meliceae: Catabrosa, Glyceria, and Melica. *Poeae: Bromus, Dactylis, Festuca, Lolium, Poa, Puccinellia, and Vulpia. Andropogoneae: Andropogon, Sorghum, and Zea. Paniceae: Cenchrus, Dichanthelium, Digitaria, Echinochloa, Panicum, Paspalum, Pennisetum, and Setaria. Chlorideae: Bouteloua, Buchloe, Cynodon, Eleusine, Schedonnardus, and Spartina. Aeluropodeae: Distichlis. Eragrosteae: Calamovilfa, Eragrostis, Muhlenbergia, Munroa, and Sporobolus. Aristideae: Aristida. Arundineae: Arundo, Cortaderia, and Phragmites. Danthonieae: Danthonia. Oryzeae: Leersia, Oryza, and Zizania. Bambuseae: Arundinaria.

20 Grass Terminology – Parts of a grass plant
Leaf = sheath and blade joined by ligule Floret = flower is inside the: lemma (outer bract) and palea (inside bract) Spikelet = floret(s) along rachilla (central axis) and lower and upper glumes Forms of Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, spike

21 Grass Terminology – Parts of a grass plant
Leaf = sheath and blade joined by ligule Floret = flower is inside the lemma (outer bract) and palea (inside bract) Spikelet = floret(s) along rachilla (central axis) and lower and upper glumes Forms of Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, spike

22 A. Chase: First Book of Grasses R. Pohl: How to Know the Grasses

23 Ligules (left and ctr) Auricles (rt)

24 Grass Terminology – Parts of a grass plant
Leaf = sheath and blade joined by ligule Floret = flower is inside the lemma (outer bract) and palea (inside bract) Spikelet = floret(s) along rachilla (central axis) and lower and upper glumes Forms of Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, spike

25 Grass spikelet (generalized)
Grass floret Grass spikelet (generalized)

26 AWNS – protruding midrib of a lemma or glume; lateral nerves rarely produce awns (Pohl 1954)
FLOWERS – stamens

27 Comparison of forb to grass showing parts of spikelet

28 http://gemini.oscs.montana.edu/~mlavin/herb/mtgrass.pdf Festuca Avena
Lolium Bromus japonicus

29 Grass Terminology – Parts of a grass plant
Leaf = sheath and blade joined by ligule Floret = flower is inside the lemma (outer bract) and palea (inside bract) Spikelet = floret(s) along rachilla (central axis) and lower and upper glumes Forms of Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, spike

30 Forms of Inflorescence
Panicle Raceme Spike

31 Panicle - pedicel Poa pratensis Festuca idahoensis

32 Koeleria macrantha Bromus tectorum

33 Spike - sessile

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36 Grass showing panicle inflorescence, Yarrow
Festuca, Yarrow, mustard (Sisymbrium)

37 KEYS and PICTURES Interactive grass key on web: posted by T. M. Jones. "Grasses of Montana" by M. Lavin and C. Seibert (Fall 2005). Texas A&M web site (http://csdl.tamu.edu/FLORA/gallery.htm) has good photos of graminoid species


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