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Grasses of Southern Oklahoma and North Texas: A Pictorial Guide Now Available

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Posted Jun. 30, 2004

Many of you have seen the Plant Image Gallery on the Noble Research Institute's Web site, and most News and Views readers have seen the notices about the "plant book" publication set to arrive this summer. Well, it is here!

Grasses of Southern Oklahoma and North Texas: A Pictorial Guide has more than 100 full-color pages in an easy to use 8.5 x 11-inch format that can be taken to the field and used on site as an educational resource or kept in the office as a reference. The Agricultural Division is pleased to release this official Noble Research Institute publication to the public. The following is the foreward of the publication, co-written by the plant taxonomy authorities in Oklahoma and Texas – Ronald J. Tyrl, curator at The Herbarium, Oklahoma State University, and Stephan L. Hatch, director of the S. M. Tracy Herbarium, Texas A&M University.

Oklahoma and Texas are states noted for their abundance of grasses and grass-dominated vegetation. About 305 species in 96 genera and 20 tribes occur in Oklahoma. Texas has about 563 species in 143 genera and 22 tribes. In the central and western parts of these states are vast grasslands dominated by tallgrasses such as big bluestem, little bluestem, switchgrass and Indiangrass (the official state grass of Oklahoma); midgrasses such as sideoats grama (the official state grass of Texas); and short grasses such as buffalograss and blue grama. The many communities of these grasslands were the historical home of the North American bison, pronghorn antelope and a plethora of other mammals, birds and reptiles. In the forests of the eastern part of these states, the panicums, paspalums and broadleaf woodoats dominate the understory vegetation.

These grasses and grasslands constitute a highly valuable resource for the citizens of both states – soil stabilization, water infiltration, crop production, livestock production and wildlife management. Management and conservation of these grasses and grasslands are dependent upon rapid and accurate identification of the grass species that occur on specific sites. In addition, discovery and communication of knowledge about individual grass species are dependent upon their correct identification.

Grasses of Southern Oklahoma and North Texas: A Pictorial Guide provides scientists, ranchers, land managers and agency personnel with a concise, beautifully illustrated means of accomplishing this important task of identification. The authors have carefully selected species likely to be encountered. They facilitate field recognition of each one via photographs of its vegetative growth form, reproductive structures and important diagnostic features. Accompanying these photos are tabular synopses of each species' classification, nomenclature and major growth characteristics. In addition, a paragraph of each species' ecology, wildlife significance and/or economic significance is presented. Users of this book, whether novice or expert, will increase their knowledge of the grass species included.

Grasses of Southern Oklahoma and North Texas: A Pictorial Guide can be purchased, contact Ag Services and Resource at (580) 224-6480 or order on the Foundation's Web site at www.noble.org under Books for Purchase. The Ag Division also has numerous other publications, many of which are free or available for only a shipping and handling charge. For a complete listing of all publications and charges, contact the Ag Services and Resource at (580) 224-6500 or see the Web site.