This book is intended to serve as a guide to the study of grasses of the plains of South India. For the past few years I have been receiving grasses for identification, almost every week, from the officers of the Agricultural and Forest Departments and others interested in grasses. The requirements of these men and the absence of a suitable book induced me to write this book.
tions. The root-systems of most grasses are superficial and so are best adapted for surface-feeding.
[Illustration: Fig. 7.--Panicum javanicum.]
=The shoot-system.=--The shoot-system varies with the duration of the life of the plant. In annual grasses stems are in most cases erect and even if they are not entirely so they become erect at the time of flowering. They are attached to the soil by a tuft of fibrous roots arising from the base of the stems. But in perennials in addition to erect branches, creeping branches, stolons and rhizomes may occur.
[Illustration: Fig. 8.--Prop roots of Andropogon Sorghum.]
[Illustration: Fig. 9.--Aerial roots of Ischæmum ciliare.]
The stem is either cylindrical or compressed and consists of nodes and internodes. In most grasses the internodes are usually hollow, the cavity being lined by the remains of the original pith cells. However, there are also grasses in which the stems remain solid throughout. In many grasses the basal portion