Grasses lecture series

The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail hosted this short online lecture series. The sessions were free but contributions to the FOCHT are encouraged. Material covered in the first two sessions will be helpful in understanding topics presented in the last one. 

This series is finished. The final lecture is available in a slightly edited form (see below). If you are interested in learning more about grasses on the trail contact

Lecture 1: Introduction to Grasses and their Relatives February 24, 7pm

Do grasses have flowers? How can you tell a grass from a sedge? Why does the crabgrass in the lawn stay green and lush in midsummer while the bluegrass goes dormant? Learn the answers to these and other questions, as well as some terminology to help you to identify and describe grasses.

Lecture II: Grasses: Our Most Important Source of Food March 10, 7pm

If you eat, you eat grass fruits, which we commonly refer to as grains. Rice, wheat and maize (corn) are the ones eaten most, and we’ll focus on these.  The type of wheat used to make bread is the result of human plant breeding experiments that go back thousands of years. Maize is also completely dependent on humans, and may have first been consumed only when infected by a fungus. We’ll touch on pros and cons of modern plant breeding methods.

Lecture III: Grasses on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail: Good, Bad, and Beautiful March 17, 7pm

There are about 10,000 different species of grasses, but only a dozen or so are common on the trail and we’ll talk about a few of them.  We’ll expand on what we learned in the first two sessions to discuss some things to consider when planting grasses on the trail or in yards, such as native vs non-native species and consequences of planting hybrids. We’ll discuss ecotypes and cultivars, bunch grasses and sod-forming grasses, cool season vs warm season grasses, and other features.  We will not cover turfgrasses or the planting and care of traditional lawns. 

Video of this lecture is available below.