Guadalupe Mountains National Park Grasses

The grasses comprise the most widely distributed family of flowering plants, and the largest in terms of numbers of individuals. They are found in almost all habitats and on all continents, including Antarctica. The family appears to have originated near the beginning of the Tertiary geologic era, perhaps in association with the rise of grazing animals. The generative response of grasses to fires ignited by plains tribes contributed to the vast extent of the prairie ecosystem with its unsurpassed soils and 60 million bison. Minute flowers of grasses are wind pollinated, highly specialized in structure, and thus possess a descriptive terminology all their own.

Of all plants on earth, grasses and their seeds are of the greatest use to the human race. Nine of the ten most economically important plants are grasses. Civilization as we know it would not exist without them. To the grasses belong the cereals, including wheat, corn (maize), rice, barley, rye, and oats. It has been justifiably stated that wheat, com, and rice are the crops that feed the world; rice is a staple food for more of the world's peoples than any other plant. Also of tremendous significance are sugarcane, sorghum, millet and bamboos (the largest of the grasses, regularly attaining a height of over 100 feet).

Because they furnish the bulk of the forage and feed of grazing animals, grasses are also the basis of the animal industry. Throughout centuries, grasses have not only nourished us, but have served as or provided us with construction supplies and art materials, fiber, clothing, paper, utensils, wax, oils, boats, floats, conduits, and even corncob pipes, fishing rods, and walking canes. They hold soils in place and provide wildlife with food and habitat.

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Featured Park
Rising above a scene rich with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain, the Teton Range stands monument to the people who fought to protect it. These are mountains of the imagination. Mountains that led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park where you can explore over two hundred miles of trails, float the Snake River or enjoy the serenity of this remarkable place.
Featured Wildlife
The pika is a close relative of the rabbits and hares, with two upper incisors on each side of the jaw, one behind the other. Being rock-gray in color, pikas are seldom seen until their shrill, metallic call reveals their presence.