Let us pick a stem or culm of grass. We see that the greater part of it is hollow; but at intervals there are joints, and here the stem is solid. From each joint grows a leaf-sheath which is wrapped round the stem for a little distance above the joint. Out of each sheath grows a leaf. All grass leaves are long and narrow compared with those of most other plants, but some grass leaves are longer and narrower than others.

Now for a flower. The stem which we have picked is the stem of perennial Rye Grass. The blossom, we see, consists of several small spikelets; there are eighteen on our stem. They grow alternately on two opposite sides of the stem, first one on one side, then one on the other. They have no stalk of their own; they are sessile or seated on the stem. As the spikelets are flat and grow on two sides of the stem only, each stem looks as if it had been pressed in a book, as perhaps you have sometimes pressed flowers.

The leaves are dark green, glossy and shining. On the under side of each leaf there is a prominent rib which extends the whole length. This rib is one of the signs by which Mr. Hammond can tell a blade of Rye Grass at once without seeing the flower.

This is one of the farmer’s most useful grasses. It forms a close thick carpet or sward, and, the more it is trodden on by animals grazing, the better it seems to thrive.


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