Agnes Chase's First Book of Grasses: The Structure of Grasses Explained for Beginners / Edition 4

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For almost seventy-five years, Agnes Chase's First Book of Grasses has been the classic guide to the structure of this complex group of plants. Clearly written and copiously illustrated with line drawings, the book is accessible to those with little or no botanical training, yet it also is respected by botanists as an authoritative introduction to agrostology.

Last updated in 1959, the book now has been thoroughly revised to reflect current scientific knowledge, nomenclature, and classification. Divided into twelve lessons, the guide first surveys the basic vegetative and reproductive parts of a grass plant, then in succeeding lessons takes up increasingly more complex modifications. Formally recognized groups of grasses are discussed in a taxonomic context, with the principal focus on grass structures, particularly those of inflorescences and spikelets. Virtually all of the species discussed are illustrated with detailed line drawings. With the addition in this edition of a lesson on bamboos, coverage now extends to tropical regions and encompasses all major groups of grasses. The book also includes a short biography of Agnes Chase in the foreword and, for the first time in this edition, a glossary accompanies the appendices on grass classification.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An affordable and valuable addition to any horticulturist's bookshelf. . . . [This book makes] the seemingly insurmountable complexity of the grass inflorescence accessible to horticulture students and botanists alike. . . . Many of the illustrations are from the first edition, and are exquisite in their detail and clarity.”—HortScience

“Beautifully illustrated and a handy companion to a botanical garden.”—New Scientist

“A new edition of the classic botanical introduction to agrostology covering the major groups of grasses found in the Americas. Truly a standard, Chase first published the guide in 1902 and was considered the preeminent agrostologist of American grasses at the time of her death in 1963.”—SciTech Book News

A new edition of the classic botanical introduction to agrostology covering the major groups of grasses found in the Americas. The volume surveys basic vegetative and reproductive parts and then in the remaining 11 lessons describes increasingly more complex spikelet and inflorescence varieties, including the taxonomic context and structure. Each grass type is illustrated by detailed line drawings. The revised edition includes a new section on bamboos and reflects changes in nomenclature and classification made since the last 1959 publication. Truly a standard, Chase first published the guide in 1902 and was considered the preeminent agrostologist of American grasses at the time of her death in 1963. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560986560
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 152
  • Sales rank: 1,069,449
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn G. Clark is Associate Professor of Botany at Iowa State University. Richard W. Pohl (1916-1993), Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Botany at Iowa State University and author of How to Know the Grasses (3d ed. 1978), was regarded as the foremost authority on American grasses.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface to the Fourth Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Introduction 1
Lesson 1 The Basic Morphology of Grasses 17
Lesson 2 Modifications of the Spikelet 28
Lesson 3 Pedicellate Spikelets of Few to Many Florets 32
Lesson 4 Sessile Spikelets in Two Sided Spikes 39
Lesson 5 Pedicellate Spikelets with Large Glumes and Other Modifications 46
Lesson 6 Pedicellate One-Flowered Spikelets 50
Lesson 7 Sessile Spikelets in One-Sided Spikes 58
Lesson 8 Spikelets of Florets Falling in Fascicles 63
Lesson 9 Spikelets with Membranaceous Glumes and Hardened Fertile Florets 68
Lesson 10 Paired Spikelets with Hardened Glumes and Membranaceous Lemmas 79
Lesson 11 Highly Specialized Unisexual Spikelets 87
Lesson 12 The Bamboos and the Rices 94
How to Study Grasses 105
Synopsis of Grass Classification 109
Useful References for the Study of Grasses 121
Glossary 122
Index to Grass Names 129
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