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Grasses of the Southern Appalachians

May 8, 2023 - May 12, 2023

Instructor: Dr. Paul McKenzie (USFWS, Emeritus)

This class will include a detailed description of the grass flower, inflorescence type, habitat and ecological associations, Tribal affinities, distribution, and habit differences. The class will be taught in four parts: 1) power point presentation and classroom instruction, 2) examination of important features with hand lens and dissecting scope, 3) team keying of grass specimens, and 4) field identification.

Dichotomous keys, hard copy print outs of power point presentation, and other handouts will be provided by the instructor. Tips for proper collection; processing; label development; herbaria deposition of grass specimens; and suggested websites/electronic tools helpful in grass study will also be discussed.

Suggested references/materials recommended or required (*) include the following:
1. Hand lens (*): A 16x is preferred over a 10x loupe.
2. Clark, L.G. and R.W. Pohl. Agnes Chase’s First Book of Grasses- (1996)- the Structure of grasses explained for beginners. 4th Smithsonian Books. Washington, D.C. 127 pp. This book is inexpensive and an absolute must for anyone wanting to understand grass identification.
3. “Plant Identification Terminology- An Illustrated Glossary” by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris (2001)- Second Edition. Because dichotomous keys will often use terms related to various plant structures or texture that some students are unfamiliar with, a good illustrated glossary that both defines and illustrates terms is highly recommended for any plant identification course. I have yet to find one better than this one and at $20.95 for a paper back copy from Amazon, it is a steal

Pre-requisites: None, but individuals with experience in plant taxonomy or have taken another plant identification class will grasp the material quicker.


May 8, 2023
May 12, 2023
Event Category:


Highlands Biological Station
265 North 6th St
Highlands, NC 28741 United States
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