Grasses are flowering plants; they have all the same bits and pieces as a buttercup or a dandelion. The difference is that they are wind pollinated so they have not adapted their structure to meet the needs of insect pollinators; they have no scent, no nectaries, no colours or ultra-violet sign posts and no petals to make landing platforms.

Grasses raise their flower heads above their leaves so that the wind will catch them. Their stamens are held away from the flower, and the anthers, which contain the pollen, are attached in such a way that the slightest movement or breath of air sets them jiggling.

In this enlargement of DKG’s fascinating macro-image of meadow foxtail the anthers are the pale yellow, banana-looking structures; they are containers for the pollen. When they are ripe, they split along their length and the pollen spills out.

The stigma, the female part of the plant, is the feather-like structure behind the stamens. Below, in an even closer magnification, you can see the pollen grains sticking to the stigmas.

If you look closely, there are two very small invertebrates in this picture; one, at the top, appears to have wings, the second which is orange and lower down appears to be wingless.

The ovaries, which produce the seed after fertilisation are hidden behind the dark-edged, triangular, green bracts.

Take a magnifying glass, lie down in the park’s fields and take a good look at the many grasses before they are cut for this year’s hay; they are fascinating plants.

All the pictures are by DKG

More about the structure of flowers.
The Structure of Orchids

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