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8   FODDER AND PASTURE PLANTS.

GRASSES.

Name: When speaking of grasses one often includes such plants as Rib Grass, Poverty Grass and Cotton Grass, which botanically have none of the characteristics of true grasses. On the other hand,. many people do not regard Corn and Millet as true grasses. Agriculturally a distinction is made between cereals and grasses, but botanically such a distinction is impossible, rye, barley, oats and wheat being grasses as truly as Meadow Fescue, Red Top and Timothy.

 

Seed: If with a sharp knife we cut through a corn grain, parallel
to its broadest side, we see that a great portion of it consists of a

white or yellow mass, in which the naked
eye cannot discover any distinct structure.
This part of the grain, which in Fig. r is
marked End. is called endosperm and pro-
vides food for the young seedling. The
remaining part of the grain is dull-coloured,
and the naked eye can discern three dis-
tinct sections. This is the embryo or
young plant before germination. It con-
sists of a so-called cotyledon (Fig. i, Cot.)
which lies close to the endosperm, a ter-
minal bud (Fig. i, B.) from which the stem
and leaves of the germinating plant de-
velop, and a radicle (Fig. I, Rad.) from
which the first root is formed. The por-
tion lying between the radicle and the

Fig. 1. Section through a
grain of Corn.

Four times natural size.

End.—Endosperm.   Germination: When corn germinates

Cot.—Cotyledon.   the cotyledon acts as a sucker, turning the

B.—Bud.   g

Rad.—Radicle. food in the endosperm over to the embryo; it remains enclosed in the grain during germination. The other parts of the embryo soon become visible. The radicle develops into a root and the bud soon displays a number of green leaves. The primary root soon dies and its function is taken by secondary roots, which sprout from the lower parts of the stem. The essential features of this process of germination are characteristic of all grasses.

Root System: Most fodder and pasture grasses are perennial; that is, their underground parts survive from year to year. These surviving parts consist of underground stems, from which roots and overground stems develop. Sometimes they are creeping with long

Picture

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