The Elder or Sambucus nigra Part 1 of the Adoxaceae

Sambucus nigra or Common Elder is a hugely useful plant and therefore cannot be called a weed at all!

It used to be a member of the Caprifoliaceae but now it belongs in the Adoxacea together with Viburnum and Adoxa with the most modern thinking in Plant Taxonomy.

As there is a lot of information available about this plant on various websites I will just list most of the uses in a very edited form and you can find links to the various websites available. I like to specially mention the Eatweeds website by Robin Harford giving much interesting information about Elder and many other so called weeds!

I use colour coding for easy reading! Blue background is general interesting info (although I hope you find it all interesting!!). Green is about all the uses except for medicinal uses or if there is a warning in which case I use a pink background. Pictures and the poem on the end by Matt Summers.

Useful Grasses in Britain

Two common grasses in a local meadow: Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus) and Sweet vernal grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)

The family of Poaceae, which is the last family in Stace’s  and most other modern Floras) has 5 Sub-families and 16 tribes.

It is by far the largest family in the temperate world as grasses flourish in nearly every habitat!

Stace does mention many obvious non-natives which have naturalized in several places, as well as crop plants which have been grown in the B.I. for many centuries.

Many people find grasses hard to identify and this is mostly due because of their small parts, which often need  be looked at through magnifying glasses and of course they are mainly all green!

However with a bit of practise and knowledge into which diagnostics to look for, they are not too difficult. It can get adictive as the flowers are often beautiful!

I use colour coding for easy reading! Blue background is general interesting info (although I hope you find it all interesting!!). Green is about all the uses except for medicinal uses or if there is a warning in which case I use a pink background. Amber coloured background is for all the cereal grasses this time. Pictures by Matt Summers and Mike Poulton unless stated.

Contents

Gallery of grasses (by Mike Poulton)
Identifying Grasses
Ornamental Uses of Grasses
How to make a standard lawn more attractive!
Mixes of grasses for hard wearing and fine turf
Wildlife Uses
Main uses of Grasses

Main important grasses:

Marram Grass or Ammophila arenaria

Leymus or Leymus arenarius

Common Reed or Phragmites australis

Floating Sweet grass or Glyceria fluitans

Small Sweet-grass or Glyceria declinata

Perennial Rye Grass or Lolium perenne

Italian Rye Grass or Lolium multiflorum

(Mainly) Medicinal Grasses

Sweet Vernal Grass or Anthoxanthum oderatum

Sweet/Holy Grass or Hierochloe odorata

 Darnel or Lolium termulentum

Couch Grass/Twitch or Elytrigia repens

Cultivated Grains in our temperate world:

Wheat or Triticum

Rye or Secale

Barley or Hordeum

Oats or Avena

Food and Drink
Fodder and Bedding
– Other Uses
– Medicinal Uses
An edited account of our cultivated grains
Continue reading “Useful Grasses in Britain”