Poaceae or Gramineae: Grass Family Characteristics, Floral formula, Floral Diagram And Economic Importance



Diagnostic characters of Poaceae


Kingdom: Plantae.

Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants

Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants

Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants

Habit: Annual (yearly) or perennial herbs; scarcely tree (bamboos).

Roots: Fibrous roots or adventitious roots.

Stem: Herbaceous (relating to herbs); cylindrical; jointed, hollow at internodes. Sometimes, forms runner or rhizome.

Leaves: Sessile (sessility is a characteristic or type of plant parts that have no stalk) with long sheathing base; alternate; simple; ligulate; parallel venation.

Inflorescence: Panicles of spikelets or Spike of spikelets. Every spikelet is made up of 2-5 (two to five) flowers. It is enclosed by a pair of bracts called glumes.

Panicles of spikelets: The spikelets are arranged on a branched axis-panicle as in oat.

Spike of spikelets: The spikelets form dense clusters in a sessile manner on the main axis as in wheat.

Organism classification: Bambusoideae

Flower: Pedicillate (presence of pedicel); bracteate, two bracts palea, and lemma enclose flower or floret; lemma contain bristle like awns zygomorphic; incomplete; unisexual or hermaphrodite (both sexes are present on the same flower); hypogynous.

Perianth: Represented by two or three scale like lodicules.

Androecium: 3 stamens, sometimes 1,2 or 6; polyandrous; anther versatile.

Gynoecium: Monocarpillary; unilocular; ovary is superior; stigma usually 2; feathery; basal placentation.

Fruits: Caryopsis.

Rank: Family.

Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons

Subclass: Commelinidae

Order: Cyperales

Family: Poaceae – Grass family

Seed: Endospermic.


Floral formula and floral diagram



Economic Importance 


This family has greater importance than all other angiosperm families of the flowering plants. It has importance both for human beings and animals.

Food: All the cereals and millets belong to this angiosperm plant family. These from the basic food of mankind/human beings. These plants are:

Zea mays (Corn), Avena saliva (Oat), Oryza saliva (Rice), Tirticum sp (Wheat), Secale cereale (Rye), Hordeum vulgare (Barley),Sorghum vulgare / Sorghum bicolor (Broom-corn), Pennisetum typhoideum / Pennisetum glaucum (Pearl millet).

Fodders: Most of the fodders (food, especially dried hay or straw, for cattle and other livestock) of the animals also belong to this family of angiosperm plants. The dried stems and leaves of the cereal crops are used as fodder for the Bos taurus (cattle).

Sugar: Sugar cane belong to this angiosperm family of plants. Sugar is acquired from the juice of Saccharum officinarum (sugar cane). Its stout stalks are rich in sucrose.

Ornamental plants: Many members of family poaceae are used for ornamental purposes i.e. grasses are used M lavms, e.g. Agrost is. Boa, Festuca etc. So these plants of family poaceae have ornamental significance / importance.

Aromatic oils: Certain grasses give aromatic oil (sweet-scented), e.g. Cymbopogon throws (lemon grass). Cymbopogon gives lemon grass oil. This oil is used in perfumes for scented purpose and soap industry for making infusions.

Paper industry: Some species of grasses belong to family poaceae are used in paper industry for making papers.

Alcohol and beverages: All the cereals and millets belong to this plant family. Ethyl alcohol and many other liquid refreshment beverages are prepared form cereals. For example, wine is prepared from Secale cereale (rye), Zea mays (corn) and rum molasses form Saccharum officinarum (sugar cane).

Ropes: Fibers are obtained / attained form the leaves of Saccharin?: munjo. These fibers are used for making / synthesizing ropes.

Bamboo: Bambusa (bamboo) are used as building material belong to this plants family. These are used for thatching huts, carts pipes, making boats etc. Their spilt stems are woven into mars, course umbrella, fans hats etc ‘. Their leaves are used as medicinal purpose for animals i.e. they are given to horse for curing / treating cough and cold.


Distribution pattern

This plant family is distributed throughout the world. It has six hundred (600) genera and ten thousands (10,000) species. There are one-hundred fifty eight (158) genera and four-hundred ninty two (492) species of this family are present in Pakistan.


Common species


  • Zea mays (corn / maize)
  • Oryza sativa (rice)
  • Eleusine coracan (millet)
  • Cynodon dactylon (dubo)
  • Hordeum vulgare (barley)
  • Triticum aestivum (wheat)
  • Sorghum vulgare (broom corn)
  • Dendrocalamus strictus (bamboo)
  • Dendrocalamus strictus (bamboo)
  • Sachharum officinarum (sugarcane)
  • Cymbopogan citramus (lemon grass)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *