Saturday, 31 October 2015

Native Grasses ID and Management Workshop Clare

So much to learn - so many new concepts and words. 
The native grasses workshop was a very worthwhile day for our members who joined the 20 or so participants in Clare.
Lots of plants we call grasses and have a common name like 'iron grass' but are rushes or sedges. It was great to be able to handle various plants and listen and ask questions to discover the distinguishing features of the different families. It's so much easier for me to learn by doing rather than reading. Grasses have leaves that articulate - that was new to me. Rushes have many seeds as tiny as pepper while sedges and grasses have one seed per flower, and all very tiny.
Having never looked at grasses with a field lens, it was fascinating to discover the minute features of the florets that make up the flower heads. It didn't take too long to distinguish between wallaby grass Rytidosperma,  spear grass Austrostipa  and windmill grass Chloris. However, it took a field lens and  real concentration while grappling with many new words and a two-choice key to be able to identify different species of wallaby grasses. Whew.....
Out in the field at Pink's Reserve it was satisfying to be able to identify some of the grasses and the weeds. And to apply new trick of pulling the suspect grass - annual grasses pull out easily and are almost always introduced plants (weeds).  
It was good to see the work of the Trees for Life group in reducing the weeds and maintaining the native grasses in this open grassland area.
This austrostipa is a shiny bronze colour with awns spiralling beautifully on the end of each seed. 
 I may take for ever to distinguish between different spear grasses but I now really appreciate the marvellous intricacy of the plants.

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