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How does grass pollinate when there are no flowers?

How does grass pollinate when there are no flowers and they don?t appear to have any?
Minet Junior School from Greater London (Age 25-34)

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3 Responses

  1. Grasses do have flowers, but they are often very small. They can be found in the feathery structures that appear in summer if you let grass grow long. If you mow the grass every week you will stop it from flowering.
    The flowers are small and green because they do not need to attract insects to transport their pollen. Instead, they drop pollen into the wind and some of it might land on another flower allowing pollination to happen. Grasses shed so much pollen into the air that when we breathe it in some people get hay fever.

  2. You would be forgiven for thinking that grasses don’t have flowers because we most often see grass on lawns, where they are rarely allowed to grow more than a few cm high. However, if you stopped mowing your lawn, and allowed the grass to grow, you would eventually see that the grass did, in fact, produce flowers.

    You would still need to look very closely because most grass species are wind pollinated and as such, there is no need for them to produce the large brightly coloured flowers that are needed by species that need to attract insects.

    Grass species are often prevented from producing flowers by heavy grazing or mowing. In order to get around this problem, they have the ability to reproduce without flowering, producing clones of themselves which spread out from the parent plant. This is why your lawn can stay healthy even if you never let it flower.

  3. Grass plants do actually have flowers, but they are not brightly colored like most of the flowers we grow in our gardens. Their flowers have no petals, but just stamens which make lots of pollen which is blown to other plants by the wind. Grasses flower mostly in mid summer and the pollen they produce often causes us to have hay fever.
    The brightly colored flowers use insects to carry the pollen to other plants, and so they have petals in colours that their pollinators can see. Bees for instance prefer flowers in blue shades, whereas tropical plants which are pollinated by birds often have red flowers. Flowers that are pollinated by moths often have white flowers and are scented so that the moths can find them when they are flying at night.

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