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8 Types of Grass: Different Types of Grass Explained

Errah is a bookwormy and logophilic writer and science & technology teacher. He often writes about scientific ideas, theories, and research.

Read on to learn about eight varieties of grass, including Zebra grass, bamboo, and Blood grass.

Read on to learn about eight varieties of grass, including Zebra grass, bamboo, and Blood grass.

The family Poaceae, also known as the Gramineae, includes approximately 780 genera and 12,000 species. Grasses are members of this plant family. Grasses are more than just the small plants you see on your lawn; they also include bamboo, corn, rice, and sugarcane.

Below, learn about eight various types of grass, from one that we commonly see on the lawn to one that is as tall as trees.

8 Kinds of Grass

  1. Zebra or Porcupine Grass
  2. Prairie Dropseed
  3. Bamboos
  4. Bermuda Grass
  5. Pampas Grass
  6. Sandbur
  7. Purple Fountain Grass
  8. Blood Grass

1. Zebra Grass or Porcupine Grass

Zebra grass is a large, rhizomatous grass that occurs naturally in East Asia but has also become popular as an ornamental grass all over the world due to its aesthetic appeal and resistance to drought, pests, herbivores, and diseases. This 7-foot-tall plant grows from the rhizomes that spread outwards to form a dense clump 5 feet in diameter.

The names come from the color patterns and the shape of the foliage. The green foliage is banded with cream or gold, creating a striped look reminiscent of zebra. It is also upright, needle-like, and lengthy, resembling the spiky quills of porcupines. The striped leaves, however, turn entirely yellow in the fall and beige in the winter.

Zebra grass produces purplish copper inflorescence. When fully mature, the inflorescence becomes a cluster of silver seeds, where it gets its other common name, silver grass. The seeds are tiny, so light, and surrounded by hair-like feathery structures that help them easily disseminate by the wind.

A Praire Dropseed

A Praire Dropseed

2. Prairie Dropseed

Prairie dropseed is ideal for growing in your garden. This 2- to 3-foot-tall grass forms clumps with long, drooping, arching leaves. The clump is so dense that it gives the plant a rounded shape. During autumn, its green foliage turns to stunning rusty orange and can create breathtaking scenery when seen in a group.

Aside from its beauty, the prairie has blossoms that release a sweet scent comparable to buttered popcorn or vanilla. In the grass family, this characteristic is uncommon. Summertime is the peak season for fragrance, so you can enjoy it then.

Bamboo

Bamboo

3. Bamboos

Bamboo is a subfamily of grass comprising 115 genera and over 1,000 species. The majority of the members are the tallest grasses in the world. Depending on the species, bamboo can grow to heights ranging from 2 cm for the smallest one (Raddiella vanessiae) to more than 50 meters for the largest (Dendrocalamus giganteus). Still, the typical height is more than 12 meters. They are also the fastest-growing land plants, with one species having a one-day growth rate of 3 feet.

Bamboos can be described as having hard, woody or herbaceous, very long, upright, cylindrical stems that are referred to as culms. Culms are ringed and are typically hollow, which helps these plants be light and flexible. They are usually clumped and typically sprout from the base of the plant.

Bamboos reproduce mostly through rhizomes. They hardly ever produce blooms and seeds; this only happens around once per 40 or 100 years. When this happens, the flowers and seeds resemble those of other grasses like rice and wheat.

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda Grass

4. Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is one of the popular turf grass for lawns and grazing. It is not native to Bermuda or the entire American continent but originates in India and East Africa. Its name comes from the Spanish explorer Juan de Bermúdez, who discovered Bermuda, and of course, this grass in the archipelago.

As we all know, this species is short and can only grow up to 4 inches to 1 foot if left unmowed. Its hairy leaves are typically located close to the base of the plant and are strewn randomly along the stem.

The inflorescence is hand-shaped, made up of a flattened rachis with panicles of branches and spikelets. It also contains numerous minuscule pink and purple flowers. Due to the size of its flowers, it cannot be pollinated by insects or any other animal; instead, it is wind-pollinated.

A Pampas Grass

A Pampas Grass

5. Pampas Grass

Pampas grass is a large erect grass that is indigenous to the Pampas region of South America, but it has been introduced to other parts of the world as an invasive or decorative plant. It generates stems that can grow up to 10 feet tall and form dense clumps up to 6 feet wide—the stems bears stunning, lengthy arching leaves that are as long as their height. It is important to avoid touching the leaves as they have sharp edges.

When pampas grass reaches maturity, it grows a thin arrow with a tassel of conspicuous plumes. The fluffy and feathery plumes are actually the flowers of this plant. They are often silvery white, but depending on the type, they can also be tinted with yellow, pink, or purple.

6. Sandbur

Yes, the sandbur (or the plant with round, spiky seeds that cling to the fur of animals and your clothing) is a type of grass. Sandbur is a genus of grass comprising over 20 species. Most of them thrive in dry and sandy environments, thus their name.

Sandburs are small plants that usually grow around 1 to 3 feet tall. The stout, flattened, dark green stems produce flat hairy leaves. The inflorescence, which is thick and cylindrical, develops into a cluster of seeds full of spikes. The seeds cling to the fabric and the animal fur because it is their way to disperse and propagate.

7. Purple Fountain Grass

Purple fountain grass is another favorite ornamental grass among gardeners because of its aesthetic appeal and tolerance to drought. Its name is derived from two characteristics: first, it is almost entirely purple, as evidenced by the purple hues of the stem, leaves, and flowers; second, the arching bottlebrush-like flowers resemble the water bursting out of a fountain.

The purple fountain grass is a medium-sized plant with a height and clump diameter of 2 feet. The seeds are brown and also fluffy. It continues to dangle from the plant until the end of fall, when it easily shatters and is prepared for animal and wind dispersal.

8. Blood Grass

Blood grass, also known as cogon grass, is a 1- to 6-feet tall, upright grass prized for its spectacular attractiveness. It is distinguished from other grass by its upper leaves, which develop a rich red tint in the summer. Because of the red color, it appears somewhat to be stained with blood, hence the name.

Blood grass has a variety of applications, including papermaking, thatching, and weaving. It is also used in traditional medicine. The root contains sugar and starch so that it can be consumed.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Errah Caunca