Grass Champions

In this page I will list some of the grass species that have in some way distinguished themselves due to some attribute, whether being the fastest growing, the tallest, or the smallest.

(c) Lomvi2 - Wikipedia

The Southernmost Flowering Plant - Deschampsia antarctica

D. antartica is only one of two flowering plants that is found in the harsh environment of Antartica. It mainly occurs on the South Orkney Islands, the South Shetland Islands, and along the western Antarctic Peninsula.

The most southern specimen was found in 1981 in the Refuge Islands at a latitude of 68°21'S.

Fastest Growing Plant - Bamboo
Several species of bamboo hold the record for the fastest growing plants in the world. Some have been measured to grow up to 91 cm per day, which comes to an amazing 4 cm per hour!

(c) Pismire - Wikipedia
Tallest Grass in the World - Dendrocalamus giganteus

The tallest grass in the world is a giant bamboo from Southeast Asia which can reach up to 50 meters in height.

(c) Mark Marathon - Wikipedia

Hottest Burning Grass - Cenchrus ciliaris (buffelgrass)

Buffelgrass has been recorded as burning up to 871 °C, and indirectly recorded to temperatures of 900 °C. It is very invasive and has been taking over land in the Sonoran Desert.

McDonald, C.J., McPherson, G.R. Creating Hotter Fires in the Sonoran Desert: Buffelgrass Produces Copious Fuels and High Fire Temperatures. fire ecol 9, 26–39 (2013).

Highest Living Grass - Poa attenuata

This grass species has been recorded living at 6150 meters at Mount Shukule II (Ladakh, Western Himalayas). It is only 1 of 6 vascular plants that have been seen at this highest of altitudes.

Angel R, Conrad R, Dvorsky M et al (2016) The root-associated microbial community of the world’s highest growing vascular plants. Microb Ecol 72:394–406.

Succulent Grass - Dregeochloa pumila

A peculiar, little known grass from the coastal southern Namib Desert in South Africa and Namibia, is the only known grass with succulent leaves

Barker, N.P. 1990. Dregeochloa in G.E. Gibbs Russsell, L. Watson, M. Koekemoer, L. Smook, N.P. Barker, H.M. Anderson,M.J. Dallwitz (ed. O.A. Leistner). Grasses of southern Africa National Botanical Gardens, Botanical Research Institute, South Africa.

Most thermotolerant vascular plant - Dichanthelium thermale

This species lives in active geothermal areas like Yellowstone National Park, and with the help of viral and fungal partners can grow happily at a mind boggling 65°C!

Click here to learn more.

Márquez LM, Redman RS, Rodriguez RJ, Roossinck MJ. A virus in a fungus in a plant: three-way symbiosis required for thermal tolerance. Science. 2007 Jan 26;315(5811):513-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1136237. Erratum in: Science. 2007 Apr 13;316(5822):201. PMID: 17255511.

(c) Avenue from Wikipedia

The only grass using CAM photosynthesis - Spinifex littoreus

Most grasses use C3 or C4 photosynthesis. This is the only species that uses CAM.

Che-Ling Ho, Jyh-Min Chiang, Teng-Chiu Lin, Craig E. Martin (2019). First report of C4/CAM-cycling photosynthetic pathway in a succulent grass, Spinifex littoreus (Brum. f.) Merr., in coastal regions of Taiwan, Flora, Volume 254, Pages 194-202,

No comments: