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Plant Identification ANSC 110 September 7, 2010 Going to discuss:

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1 Plant Identification ANSC 110 September 7, 2010 Going to discuss:
Important vocabulary for all plant species Characteristics of grasses and legumes Provide examples with pictures and descriptions of common pasture grasses and legumes

2 What Defines a “Good” Pasture Species?
Palatable* Nutritious Dense growing Hearty (recovers well) Tolerant to climatic extremes Resistant to pests Nutritious – provides animals with the energy, protein, vitamins and minerals that they need Dense growing – good vegetative cover and enough forage species available

3 Forage Classification
GRASSES Perennials Cool Season Warm Season Annuals LEGUMES Perennials Cool Season Warm Season Annuals FORAGE: Edible parts of plants, other than separated grain, that can provide feed for grazing animals, or that can be harvested for feeding. Includes browse, herbage, and mast. Perennial – come back more than once Annual – grows and dies in one season

4 Plant Vocabulary Grass: monocots (one seed leaf)
herbaceous plant parallel leaf veins fibrous root system bear seed on an elongated seed stalk Legume: dicots (two seed leaves) “netted” leaf veins usually have a taproot produce seed in a pod nitrogen fixation Legumes may contain a bacteria rhizobium with whom they interact to fix Nitrogen leading to a higher N content of the plant. Crude Protein measures of feeds are simply a measure of N content, therefore, legumes have higher CP content than grasses. Increases growth and decreases fertilization needed. Draw different leaf examples.

5 Grass or Legume? Left – Kentucky Bluegrass
Right – Alfalfa Leave (serrated edges)

6 Plant Vocabulary Annual: A plant that germinates, grows, reproduces, and dies in one growing season Perennial: A plant that has the ability to live for more than one year Biennials – weak perennials that usually die after the second growing season Annuals reproduce ONLY by seed Perennials reproduce either by seed or vegetatively (i.e., send up new plants from existing root structure) - may appear to die back, but can recover

7 Plant Vocabulary Warm Season Plants: plants that begin growth and/or are planted in the spring or early summer and do most of their growth during the warmest part of the year Cool Season Plants: plants that begin growth and/or are planted in the fall or early spring and do most of their growth during the coolest months of the year (except during winter) Warm season plants – Most plants native to Maryland Cool season plants – dormant in the winter

8 Grasses About 40 species commonly used for pastures
Monocots (monocotyledons) Identification: Parts of the plant Inflorescence Root system Color Growth habit Monocot = plant containing one cotyledon, or seed leaf (monocot and dicot refer to the appearance of the plant when it first germinates – if only one leaf appears, it’s a monocot, if two appear, it’s a dicot) Parts of the plant – stem & leaf parts Inflorescence – “flowers” / seedheads Growth habit – sod or clump forming?


10 Grasses – Plant Parts Parts of the stem (culm)
Node – solid joint of a grass stem where leaf sheaths are attached to stem Internode – region of the stem between the nodes

11 Grasses – Plant Parts Parts of the leaf
Blade – portion of leaf connected to the sheath Sheath – surrounds the stem above the node where it is attached Collar – region at the junction of the sheath and blade Ligule – appendage that clasps the stem where the sheath and blade join Auricle – outgrowths from the base of the blade Collar region - where the sheath begins to enclose the stem Ligule – may be a membrane, a fringe of hairs, or a hardened ring, and is generally a reliable characteristic for identification Auricle - earlike lobe; may be prominent and encircle the stem or may inconspicuous or may be absent


13 Collar Region - Ligule Fringed/Hairy Absent Membranous Rounded
Ligule – appendage that clasps the stem where the sheath and blade join Membranous – “opaque white color” Photos © University of California, IPM project Truncated/Short Toothed Tapered

14 Collar Region - Auricles
Underdeveloped Claw-like Auricle – outgrowths from the base of the blade Absent Rounded Photos © University of California, IPM project

15 Collar Region - Sheath Closed Overlapping Split
Sheath – surrounds the stem above the node where it is attached. Leaf starts at node and goes up the stem. Split Photos © University of California, IPM project

16 Plant Characteristics
Inflorescence (plant head, seed, flower/fruit) Panicle – many branches Spike – unbranced axis Raceme – spikelets on one branch Awns – appendage on ends of seeds Length, number Look for most obvious characteristics first!!! Awns – more characteristic of range plants in the west, but some plants here, too (wheat is a good example) Draw example inflorescence

17 Types of Inflorescences
Many grass seedheads are so compact that they will appear to be a spike, but may really be panicle (for example, timothy is a compact panicle, but appears to be a spike). Examples of true spike panicles include wheat, crabgrass (panicle of spiked branches)

18 Awns Annual Ryegrass AWNS Perennial Ryegrass NO AWNS

19 Plant Characteristics - Roots
Root System Rhizomes Stolons Fibrous Corm – timothy has a corm – looks like a miniature bulb on the root system Solon – above ground Rhizome – below ground

20 Root System Fibrous - Rhizomes Fibrous - Stolons Taproot
Photos © University of California, IPM project Fibrous - Bunchgrass Taproot

21 Plant Characteristics - Color
Orchardgrass Bermudagrass – silver in color Orchardgrass – bluish in color Bermudagrass

22 Plant Characteristics - Leaf growth
Folded Rolled Folded – Orchard Grass Rolled – Tall Fescue or Timothy

23 Common Characteristics of Some Pasture Species

24 Timothy Phleum pratense Cool season perennial Medium height
Haplocorm in mature plants Leaf blades are rolled Gently ribbed upper, smooth under Seedhead = compact panicle No auricles Pointed or rounded ligule Round sheath Grows in the fall and early spring Heading stage = when the seedhead appears Haplocorm – resembles a small bulb (for carbohydrate storage) Rolled leaf blades as opposed to folded (within the shoot) – smooth underneath Prominent vein Panicle – many branches

25 Timothy Common characteristic of timothy Seedheads of timothy grass

26 Orchardgrass Dactylis glomerata Cool season perennial
Tall-growing, bunch grass No rhizomes or stolons Folded leaf blades Sheath flattened No auricles Membranous ligule Seedhead - clustered spikelet; seeds are slightly curved Bunchgrass – individual plants appear as distinct clumps or bunches with open spaces between

27 Orchardgrass Seedheads Seed heads - curved Folded Leaf Blades

28 Kentucky Bluegrass Poa pratensis Cool season perennial
Short - medium height, sod-forming (rhizomes) Folded leaves Boat-shaped tips Green/Dark green in color No auricles Collar sometimes hairy Membranous ligule Seedhead - open pyramidal panicle Sod-forming – grasses gradually spread to fill in open areas and form dense sods Boat shaped Tip More narrow than tall fescue and orchard grass Highly palatable Low yields, low summer production

29 Kentucky Bluegrass…

30 Tall Fescue Festuca arundinacea Cool season perennial
Bunchgrass (short rhizomes) Coarse, tough roots Ribbed leaves (serrated edges) Auricles blunt with fine hairs Short membranous ligule Seedhead = branched panicle with elliptical spikelets Seeds have a short awn Collar of tall fescue When rubbed backwards, leaves feel “sticky” (otherwise may be mistaken for orchardgrass pre-heading) Prominent veins in the leaves

31 Tall fescue… Resistant to drought

32 Reed Canarygrass Phalaris arundinacea Leaves rolled No auricles
Collar may be divided Large membranous toothed ligule, sometimes hairy on back Wide leaf blade, smooth Seedhead - densely flowered, spreading to narrow panicle Not very palatable, however very nutritious New varieties have higher palatability, trials to be conducted here in Maryland to see if it competes well against Timothy for horses. Wide leaf blade Not tolerant of close grazing Well adapted to wet, saturated soils

33 Reed Canarygrass Seed head resembles timothy, but larger and looser

34 Digitaria sanguinalis
Crabgrass Digitaria sanguinalis Warm season annual Reaches 2-4 ft. in height Creeping grass, long runners Wide leaves hairy at base Rolled leaves Stiff ligule Seedhead spikes at top of stems Often considered a weed, but highly nutritious Cannot mow very easily

35 (Winter) Wheat Triticum aestivum Cool season annual Rolled leaves
Round, smooth split sheath Broad collar Small hairy auricles Membranous ligule Long rounded blades Seedhead - Crowded thick spike, long awns Good late winter grazing (cultivated winter annual) Very nutritious

36 Wheat…

37 Smooth Bromegrass Bromus inermis Cool season perennial Sod-forming (deep-rooted rhizomes) Blades narrow No auricles Ligule – membranous, truncate to rounded Round sheath Seedhead - Open panicle; 5 to 11 florets per spikelet Most widely-used cool season grass in N. America – not very common in most of Maryland, however grows well in N. and W. parts of the state Highly palatable 'W'-shaped constriction at approximately the midpoint of the leaf blade.

38 Smooth Bromegrass Erect panicle (many branches)

39 Annual Ryegrass Lolium multiflorum Cool season annual Bunch grass
High palatability and digestibility Rolled leaves, prominently ridged on upper surface; smooth glossy and hairless on under surface Claws on auricle Membranous ligule sometimes with hairs Seedhead - solitary spike with alternately arranged spikelets; seeds have awns More tolerant of heat than perennial version, but still not well suited to heat Suited to poorly drained soils, good for erosion control (quick to establish) – sod-forming Less winter hardy than orchardgrass or tall fescue

40 Annual Ryegrass Leaves appear shiny (see photo on right)

41 Perennial Ryegrass Lolium perenne L. Cool season perennial
Good for erosion prevention Quick to establish Undersurface of leaves is shiny dark green leaves are folded Inflorescence stems are nearly naked Seedhead - spikes with spikelets growing edgewise to seedhead stem; No awns Distinguishing it from annual variety  collar and blade are narrower and seeds have no awns Often confused with Kentucky Bluegrass

42 Perennial Ryegrass

43 Bermudagrass Cynodon dactylon Warm season perennial
Good for erosion control (sod-forming) May become invasive Spreads by rhizomes, stolons and seed Stems are short-jointed Leaves are flat and spreading Leaves may be hairy or smooth Seedhead = two rows of spikelets on finger-like spikes White collar region with sparse, relatively long hairs Often confused with crabgrass (both are warm-season) – to distinguish, bermuda grass has narrower leaves and is much “tougher” Tremendous ability to spread quickly – spreads by rhizomes

44 Bermudagrass Left – shows fibrous root system with rhizomes
Good grass for cattle

45 Common Characteristics of Some Pasture Species

46 Legumes Dicot plants Legume roots host Rhizobium bacteria
Two seed-bearing leaves Legume roots host Rhizobium bacteria Often have taproots Trifoliate leaves Shape of leaflets Texture (hairy, shiny, etc.) Dicot = two seed-bearing leaves Taproot (i.e. carrot-like) taproots of alfalfa plants have been known to penetrate 20 feet White clover has a shallow root system Trifoliate = three leaflets that make up one leaf Leaf shape can identify the plant

47 Legume – Plant Parts Petiole – the stalk by which a leaf is attached to the stem (leafstalk) Stipules – a pair of leaf-like outgrowths / appendages that occur at the base of the petiole Stolons – shoot that bends to the ground or that grows horizontally above ground

48 Legume Plant Parts


50 Inflorescence – Legumes/ Weeds
In order, left-right, top-bottom: Spike, Racene, Panicle, Umbel, Compound Umbel, Corymb, Cyne, Cluster, Solitary

51 Alfalfa Medicago sativa Cool-season perennial 15-25 inches tall
Pinnately trifoliate leaves arranged alternately on the stem Leaves are toothed towards the tips Slender stipules fused to the petiole Flowers - generally pink-purple, but may be white or yellow Predominant for haymaking Toothed tips of leaves

52 Alfalfa… Note toothed margin of alfalfa leaflet; note multi-colored flowers (unusual)

53 Ladino Clover Trifolium repens Giant form of white clover
Cool season perennial Spread by stolons 8-12 inches tall Tri-foliate leaves, shiny underneath, often marked with v-shaped pattern Flower - White ball-shape Spreads by stolons

54 Ladino Clover…

55 Red Clover Trifolium pratense Cool season perennial
Hairy leaves and stems Erect – grows 2-3 feet tall Large leaves, prominent v-shaped water mark Flower - pinkish-violet in dense clusters Incredibly hairy stem

56 Red Clover… V-shaped water mark on leaf
There are several other legume species, but they are not typically the desired forage species for a pasture. They can be toxic to horses and we will cover those in our toxic plants talk in a couple weeks.

57 Birdsfoot Trefoil Crown Vetch Crimson Clover Sericea Lespedeza

West Virginia University – NRCS Forage Identification Slide Set USDA Plants Fact Sheets Database Click on Fact Sheets and Plant Guides on left column Purdue Forage Information (great photos!) Forage Identification and Use Guide (Univ. of Kentucky)

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