What is Glyceria?

Alex Tree

Glyceria is a genus of grasses that belongs to the Poaceae family and consists of 35 to 40 species as of 2010. This genus is commonly known as mannagrass, though in the United kingdom it is called sweet grass. These grasses are found all over the world, wherever the temperatures are moderate. Some are categorized as weeds, while many others are in danger of extinction. They grow in wet areas, such as near or in riverbanks or ponds, and their blades may be either folded or flat.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Most species in this genus have long and flowing pinnacles and grow on moisture-rich land. They possess a sweet taste or smell, which is why they are called sweet grass. Although height varies between species, they are generally slender and more than 3 feet (1 m) tall. The root of the grasses grows along the ground and spreads out.

A popular species of this genus is Glyceria borealis, which also goes by the name northern mannagrass. It is spread extensively in the northern region of North America. Being a semi-aquatic plant, it can be seen growing in wet soil or water. The plant has a tall and erect stem, measuring about 3.5 feet (1 m).

Glyceria aquatica is another genus of mannagrass, and it is commonly known as water meadow grass. It grows to a maximum height of about 9 feet (2.7 m). This species is commonly found growing in swamps and muddy shores, where it flourishes with an ample amount of sunlight. Though it does grow in shady areas as well, the grass often grows limp and weak in such conditions. This grass is soft in texture, highly nutritious, and savored by horses and cattle alike.

Another species within this genus is Glyceria maxima, also called great managrass or reed mannagrass. It has been categorized as a disturbing weed in drainage areas. This grass has an approximate life of three to 10 years. The seeds are spread during summer and autumn and may be distributed through water or soil but rarely by wind.

The floating sweetgrass, or Glyceria fluitans, is another species of this genus that shares the common preferences of other species, such as moderate climate and moisture-rich soil. It has a stocky stem that grows up to 3.5 feet (1 m). The stem has light-green leaves, which are slender and long and have a rough texture. Its leaves curl at the keel, which lies on the surface of the water.

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