Is Grass A Plant?

When you hear the word 'plant', you may not immediately think of grass. But why is that? Should grass also be considered a plant?

3 MIN 27 Oct
Last update: 27 Oct 2023
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The answer is Yes, grass is definitely a plant. In fact, grass is one of the most common plants in the world! It makes up almost 30% of all plant life on earth. Most grasses are from the Poaceae family, which has about 10,000 species.

Grasses are also considered one of the most important plant species in the world. Grasses are an important food source not only for grazing animals but also for us humans. Since 70% of the world’s farmland is used to grow crops, it is no exaggeration to say that the world would look very different without grass.

What is grass anyway?

Generally, grass is considered a low-growing, green, non-woody plant. It is found all over the world and grows on every continent on Earth; Antarctic hair grass is a member of the Poaceae family and one of only two flowering plants native to the southernmost continent.

One of the main characteristics of grasses is that they are monocotyledonous flowering plants. In layman’s terms, this means that each grass seed produces only one leaf.

Grasses are considered perennials and usually grow in soil. Their root system consists of many fine, fibrous roots and grasses do not have a single taproot.

Grasses are also well adapted for wind pollination. Grass pollen is incredibly light and is easily carried by air currents. In fact, wind pollination is the main way grasses grow and spread, as they do not have brightly coloured or strongly scented flowers to attract pollinators such as bees and birds.

A lamb in a field of grass
Photo: Felix/Unsplash

How many species of grasses are there?

In the Poaceae family alone, there are more than 10,000 species of grasses. Although some members of the sedge and rush families can be considered grasses, only these 10,000 species of the Poaceae family are considered true grasses.

In the United Kingdom, amidst its lush landscapes, a unique ensemble of grasses thrives in the temperate climate and fertile soils. While the global Poaceae family boasts over 10,000 grass species, the UK showcases its own set of familiar characters. English ryegrass (Lolium perenne), Meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis), and Common bentgrass (Agrostis capillaris) are among the green stalwarts that define the picturesque meadows and lawns of the British Isles. 

What is the difference between grass and lawn?

A brown house with green lawn surrounding
Photo: Bailey Anselme/Unsplash

Grasses grow in many conditions and climates around the world. In domestic situations, grass is grown on a lawn.

A lawn is simply grass that is regularly maintained, such as mowing, trimming edges, and weeding to keep the grass short. There is not one type of grass grown exclusively in lawns; the grass grown in lawns varies depending on soil type, climate, and growing conditions of the area.

Lawns may be one of the best-known ways to grow grass, but the role and importance of lawns extend far beyond your front garden.

Whether you are talking about American prairies, Eurasian steppes, or African savannas, grasslands are vital to plant life worldwide. Grasslands often grow in between deserts and forests, in climates where there is not enough rain to make a forest thrive, but too much to make a desert.

But the role of grasslands goes beyond biodiversity alone. With their deep roots and fast-growing grasses, these areas store significant amounts of carbon in the soil, playing an important role in mitigating climate change. As reservoirs of green power, grasslands contribute to the global drive for a more sustainable and climate-resilient future.

Plains of Kenya overlooking a mountain
Foto: Sergey Pesterev/Unsplash

So, in short, grasses are much more than the familiar blades in your backyard. They form a vibrant, thriving pillar of global plant life and are invaluable to the balance and functioning of our world as we know it.

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  • What is your lawn care goal?
    1. A. Greener grass
    2. B. A more lush, dense lawn
    3. C. Bald spot repair
    4. D. Lawn restoration
    5. E. Laying out a new lawn
    6. F. Combating moss
  • For which season?
    1. A. Spring
    2. B. Summer
    3. C. Autumn
    4. D. Winter
  • Describe your lawn:
    1. A. My lawn has shaded areas
    2. B. My lawn is used intensively (e.g. by children & pets)
    3. C. I have a decorative lawn
    4. D. I have a standard lawn without special features
  • How many bald spots do you have?
    1. A. A lot, my lawn looks like a barren wasteland
    2. B. A few bald spots here and there
  • Describe your lawn restoration goal:
    1. A. I want to completely renovate my lawn
    2. B. I want to overseed my existing lawn
  • Describe your lawn:
    1. A. My lawn is shaded
    2. B. My lawn will be used intensively (e.g. by children & pets)
    3. C. I would like to have a decorative lawn
    4. D. I would like to have a thick and strong lawn
  • How bad is the moss problem in your garden?
    1. A. Bad. My lawn is covered in moss.
    2. B. Just a few spots
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