1. New Albums and some changes
The latest genera Albums added to the Operation Wildflower Site are the ones on Tritoniopsis, Melianthus and Metalasia. This means that photos and stories of plants belonging to these genera already on the Site have been moved from the more general Albums called Bulbs and Shrubs into their own new Albums under Genera.
There is a genus Album in every case where enough material has been accumulated to warrant a stand-alone grouping of photos and stories. There are now more than 160 such Albums on genera of South African plants. The biggest ones (most photos) belong to the genera Crassula, Euphorbia, Pelargonium and Aloe. Keep watching, more will be added! If there is no genus Album yet on the plant you are looking for, check under Types or the Search Box.
In order to access all items on a plant of interest, the Search Box should be used, entering the botanical name of the plant. Most photos and stories on a particular plant are likely to be posted under Genera, (or if there are only few of them, in the conglomerate categories under Types). Habitat, Regions or Parks and Gardens may also contain some material on a species searched for, showing in the list generated when using the Search Box. The latest Regions Album is the one on the Langkloof. A new Parks and Gardens Album for the Caledon Wildflower Garden has also been created from existing material.
2. Want to talk about an Album Item?
There is a new way of communicating with the Editor of this Site regarding any of the Album Items.
Please ensure that the Album Item concerned is clearly identified. Type its exact title as well as the Album Name in the Subject Line of your email. Please also state your name.
The various structures provide the features used in identification of grasses. The flower, called the inflorescence, is the easy place to start. However, some species are so similar that you may need to look more closely at other parts of the plant. The diagram below illustrates the basics.
The stem of a grass is seldom branched. It is mostly hollow and straight, interrupted at intervals by swollen joints called NODES. The stems are called CULMS.
Some grasses have stems which grow along the surface of the ground, and result in new shoots. These horizontal stems are called STOLONS. If the horizontal stems are below the ground, they are called RHIZOMES.
Leaves start at NODES. The part of the leaf closest to the node encloses and protects the shoot in a LEAF SHEATH. The further portion of the leaf opens out and is the LEAF BLADE. The LEAF BLADE is usually long and narrow, and tapers to a point.
Where the SHEATH and the BLADE meet, there is a small tissue flap called the LIGULE. This flap is sometimes nothing more than a fringe of hairs. It may also happen that the LIGULE has little projections on either side called AURICLES.
The flower head of grass is called INFLORESCENCE. There are no petals, and the flower is protected by scales called a FLORET.
All the florets are protected by a second set of scales called GLUMES. GLUMES may have bristle-like extensions called AWNS.
The entire structure – Florets, glumes, and awns – is called a SPIKELET.
The arrangement of the SPIKELETS into the INFLORESCENCE is often the first key in grass identification.