According to my itchy eyes, we are in peak blooming season for warm-season grasses. The subtle beauty of grass flowers mirrors that of the prairies they inhabit. Since their pollen is carried by the wind, grasses don’t have to spend energy creating fancy petals and sepals to attract pollinator insects. Regardless, the flowers of grasses are both pretty and functional, especially if you take the time to examine them closely.
Pollen is encased within (usually) colorful anthers, attached to long filaments. Feathery stigmas catch wind-borne pollen from other plants. The combination is effective, without being extravagant. While grasses don’t rely on insects to carry pollen from plant to plant, some insects do feed on the pollen of grasses, including bees and flies, but also beetles, grasshoppers, tree crickets, and others. As far as I know, those insects are mostly just stealing pollen without providing any benefit back to the grass plant, but grasses seem to produce enough to share.
Here is a selection of grass flower photos, taken over the last couple of years. I hope you enjoy them, especially if you’ve never looked closely at these common species and their flowers.
Thanks for this celebration of beautiful native grasses…..so under appreciated normally…..Visiting Nebraska and Kansas a few years ago, I was wondrous at a field of Indian Grass in bloom…..and loved walk amongst the Big Bluestem taller than myself….awesome! Thanks again for a chance to share with you.
Great close-up photos.
Great close-ups. While I was aware that grasses flower, I don’t have the technology to get closeup photos so it was great to see yours.
Wonderful images giving us a sense of another world.
My favorite blooming grass had always been undiagnosed, but earlier this summer while I was gathering seed on my prairie hills I spent a long time in the company of prairie junegrass. I have a new favorite.
Spell check slipped in undiagnosed for indiangrass. Ironic since I have a doctor’s appointment today.
I still remember the first time I used my macro lens for “just a stem of grass” and the amazement I experienced when I saw those details. You’ve captured that hidden world beautifully.
Wonderfully educational!! Thanks-
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