SHIGETO TSUKIE FIRST TOOK MELINDA and me to Miyama-cho in 2001, and we returned two years later in better weather to catch the early winter light. I’d been curious to know what had become of this remote area in the mountains north of Kyoto since seeing Norman Carver’s black-and-white photographs from the 1950s. Taken when […]

Grass Families

OLD HERBALS USED THE WORD grass, variously spelled gres, gyrs, gwrs, to refer to almost any small green plant. We’ve since narrowed the meaning, and in today’s common language grasses are plants with long, narrow leaves. This broad definition typically includes a number of related botanical families: the true grasses (in the grass family, Poaceae), […]

The Beauty of Grasses

MARGARET PLUES MAY HAVE BEEN a bit premature with these words 140 years ago, but her thoughts are fitting now. Pioneers in both the ecological and visual senses, grasses have finally gained a firm foothold in the fields of horticulture, landscape design, and conservation. The aesthetic appeal of grasses is indeed unique. Their colors, though […]

Design with Grasses

Cultivation & Maintenance (Grass)

GRASSES ARE EASY TO GROW. Individual species are often tolerant of a wide range of climatic and cultural conditions, and the great diversity of grasses means there are species and cultivated varieties suited for almost any purpose and place. Properly selected and used, grasses and their relatives can contribute more beauty and sustained interest with […]

Grass Names & Nomenclature

ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, most grasses have at least two names: a common, or vernacular name, and a botanical name. Vernacular names are common names expressed in local language. For example, susuki is the Japanese vernacular name for the grass most English-speaking people commonly call miscanthus. Uncontrolled by governing bodies, common and vernacular names of […]

All About Grasses, Sedges, Rushes, Restios & Cattails Part 1

ENTRIES FOR INDIVIDUAL GENERA and species are in alphabetical order by botanical name, followed immediately by the author citation (s). Genus entries begin with the common and botanical names of the corresponding plant family, followed by the common name(s) of the genus, if any, followed by the description. Species entries begin with the accepted botanical […]