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 UseFirst, 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 rootstalksfloral parts mostly in 3’sDicotyledon class:two seed leavesnetted veinstap rootsfloral parts mostly in4’s and 5’s
5 IF A MONOCOT Then, is the plant a monocot with showy flowers? Examples – Lily family, Iris family, Orchid familyOr, 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 DICOTDicots 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 flowersExample – dandelion has only ray flowers
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 irregularAre sepals united or separateNotice position of leaves – ie alternate, opposite, basal or whorled
9 Keys to Dicot Flowers Regular dicot flowers with numerous petals Cactus, bitterrootIrregular dicot flowersTeasel, pea, toadflax, penstemon, mint, Indian paintbrushRegular dicot flowers with 3 or 0 petalsSpurge (eg poinsetta)Regular dicot flowers with 4 petalsPhlox, plantain, harebell, dogwoodRegular dicot flowers with 5 united petalsBorage (Gromwell), morning gloryRegular dicot flowers with 5 separate petalsRose, St Johnswort, Dianthus, Geranium
10 Using keys to plants Variety of keys Some based on colors of flowers Some technicalRegardless, important to keep in mind some basicsFor example, the following key to get to grasses versus forbs:
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 grassesGrasses are flowering plants, but the flowers lack showy petals and sepals - seeds are wind-pollinatedGrasses are in the family PoaceaeSubdivided 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 liguleFloret = flower is inside the:lemma (outer bract) andpalea (inside bract)Spikelet = floret(s) along rachilla (central axis) andlower and upper glumesForms of Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, spike
21 Grass Terminology – Parts of a grass plant Leaf = sheath and blade joined by liguleFloret = flower is inside the lemma (outer bract) and palea (inside bract)Spikelet = floret(s) along rachilla (central axis) and lower and upper glumesForms of Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, spike
22 A. Chase: First Book of Grasses R. Pohl: How to Know the Grasses
24 Grass Terminology – Parts of a grass plant Leaf = sheath and blade joined by liguleFloret = flower is inside the lemma (outer bract) and palea (inside bract)Spikelet = floret(s) along rachilla (central axis) and lower and upper glumesForms of Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, spike
29 Grass Terminology – Parts of a grass plant Leaf = sheath and blade joined by liguleFloret = flower is inside the lemma (outer bract) and palea (inside bract)Spikelet = floret(s) along rachilla (central axis) and lower and upper glumesForms of Inflorescence: panicle, raceme, spike
37 KEYS and PICTURESInteractive 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