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How to identify prairie plants?

How to identify prairie plants?

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How to identify prairie plants?

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  1. How to identify prairie plants? • Look at pictures of plants and use keys – dichotomous, polyclave, interactive – give some examples later. • Pictures in books work best for plants with showy flowers. For grasses, keys are a must. • How to decide if a plant is a grass or a forb? 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 – that is, keys help narrow down your choices by elimination • For example, the following key to get to grasses versus forbs:

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

  12. Arrowleaf Balsamroot BitterrootBalsamorhiza sagittata Lewisia spLupine -Lupinus sp.

  13. SAGES Asteraceae Artemisia frigida Artemisia ludoviciana Artemisia dracunculus

  14. 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”

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

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

  20. Ligules (left and ctr) Auricles (rt)

  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. Grass floret Grass spikelet (generalized)

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

  24. Comparison of forb to grass showing parts of spikelet

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

  26. 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

  27. Forms of Inflorescence Panicle Raceme Spike

  28. Panicle - pedicel Poa pratensis Festuca idahoensis

  29. Koeleria macrantha Bromus tectorum

  30. Spike - sessile

  31. Grass showing panicle inflorescence, Yarrow

  32. TOOLS for ID: KEYS and PICTURES • Interactive grass “weed” key on web: http://whizlab.isis.vt.edu/servlet/wid?table=grasses posted by Kevin Bradley, Post-doc, VPI. • Grass vegetative key with pictures http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/TURF/ • Common Weed Seedlings of Michigan - simple vegetative key for grasses and broadleaf weeds with pictures http://web1.msue.msu.edu/msue/iac/e1363/e1363.htm#key

  33. TOOLS for ID: KEYS and PICTURES (continued) • "Grasses of Montana" by M. Lavin and C. Seibert (Feb 2009). http://gemini.oscs.montana.edu/~mlavin/herb/mtgrass.pdf • National Plant Data Center – polyclave key http://npdc.usda.gov/technical/plantid_wetland_mono.html