Grasses are a family of plants that includes cereals, bamboo and the short green stuff that makes up garden lawns. They grow all across the world. But what is it about grasses that helps them to grow in so many different habitats?
Grasses have existed since the time of the dinosaurs. Since then, they have evolved into thousands of different species that can grow in all sorts of climates and habitats – from rainforests to deserts to mountains to marshes to swamps. Grasses are estimated to cover about one-fifth of the Earth’s surface and are a main source of food for a variety of animals and insects.
One of the reasons that grasses have existed for so long is that they grow from the bottom up. This means that they can keep growing after their leaf-tops have been cut, so they can be grazed by animals without being severely damaged.
Humans have lots of different uses for grasses: some are grown as crops to eat or feed to animals; some are used as building materials; others are grown to make parks and gardens look nice! Did you know that barley, wheat, oats, bamboo, rice, reeds, maize, millet and sugarcane are all types of grass?
Cereals are very important grasses because they form a main part of the human diet. They are a useful food because they contain vitamins, minerals, oils, fats, carbohydrate and protein. You can find out more about these nutrients in an earlier post I wrote about why you shouldn’t only eat bread.
Talking of bread, if you want to know how it was invented, you might like to check out this website about the history of bread-making.