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Difference Between Grass and Sedge

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Grass and Sedge: An Introduction

IVSAT 2024

You might be surprised to know that bamboo is grass, not a tree. Do you know what sedges are? Or what is the difference between the grass and sedge? Do you know grasses are not only used for ornamental purposes as in lawns, but they also have various other uses? Do you know the ecological importance of grass? In this article, we are going to discuss grasses and sedges. To know more about them continue reading the article!

What Are Grasses?

Grasses are the flowering plants belonging to the monocotyledon order, Poaceae, and family and are also known as the Gramineae. Grasses have narrow leaves and hollow stems.

Grasses range from very short to tall. Bamboo is an example of very tall grasses. They are economically the most important flowering plants because of their various functions and uses. Wheat is grass of highly nutritious value.

Importance of Grasses

Grasses have a wide variety of ecological as well as economic importance. Some of the importance of grasses are discussed below:

Economic Importance

  • Medicinal Use - Several types of grass are used for medicinal purposes such as ergotine is used for uterine contraction.

  • Food - Many types of grass are cultivated for cereals and food grains such as wheat, maize, jaw, bajra, etc.

  • Furniture - Many types of grass such as H.Bent used in furniture manufacturing.

  • Ornamental - Several types of grass are grown on lawns and playgrounds.

Ecological Importance

Grasses are found in all kinds of environments from the coldest regions to deserts. They are known to prevent soil erosion.

What Are Sedges?

Sedges are also flowering plants that belong to the Cyperaceae family and monocotyledon order. These are perennial plants and are mostly found in moist and wet areas. These have solid and triangular stems.

Importance of Sedges

Sedges also have a variety of economic and ecological importance. Some of the importance of wedges are given below:

  • Sedges are used as Food - A few species of the sedges are used as food. Water chestnut and tigernut are examples of sedges used as food.

  • Sedges are used in Horticulture- These can be used for waterside planting, some of the species are also sold as groundcover for bonsai trays.

  • Sedges are used as a Fuel - Papyrus is one of the species of sedge used to provide fuel.

  • Sedges are an important part of wetland communities and play an important role in wetland succession

  • Many species of the edges are the first to colonise on the bare soil in the newly created wetland.

Similarities Between Grasses and Sedge

There are various similarities between grasses and sedges. Some of the similarities are given below:

  • Both types of grass and sedge belong to the monocotyledon order.

  • Both are usually surrounded by a papery scale.

  • Both have inconspicuous flowers.

  • Both do not have any real petals on the flower.

Difference Between Grasses and Sedge

There are various similarities as well as differences between grasses and sedges. Some of the differences are as given below:



Poaceae is the family of grasses

Cyperaceae is the family of sedges

Leaf-sheath of grasses are open

Leaf-sheath of wedges are closed

Grasses have a hollow stem

These sedges have a solid stem

Their stems are cylindrical

Their stems are triangular

Leaves of grasses are arranged in two forms alternatively

Leaves of wedges are arranged in three forms spirally

Generally, grasses have two bractea

They have only one brace

Fruit types of grasses are caryopsis

The fruit type of wedges is can here

Grasses may be either perennial or annual

Sedges are perennial plants

Flowers are showy

Flowers are inconspicuous

Examples of grasses are wheat, maize, etc

Examples of sedges are water chestnut etc.

Interesting Facts

  • Grasses are one of the most important food sources for us.

  • Majority of cereals such as wheat, maize, and barley that we consume belong to the grasses.

  • Barley is used for making soup in many cultures.

  • Grasses are also used in constructing materials, such as to make thatch for the roof.

  • Sedgemeadow impair quickly by sedimentation, heavy grazing, or water pollution.

Important Questions

Q1 How do you tell if a plant is grass or not?

Ans: We can identify a grass by hollow stem. Some grasses have creeping stems that grow along the ground called stolons and some have creeping stems that grow below the ground rhizomes.

Q2 Give some examples of sedges.

Ans: There are many sedges. Some examples of sedges are water chestnut, papyrus sedge, and cotton grass.

Q3 What is sedge used for?

Ans: Sedge can be used for a variety of purposes. Native Americans use sedges to make rope, baskets, mats, and clothing. Other than these sedges are also used for making medicines.

Key Features

  • Sedges and grasses both are flowering plants but belong to different families.

  • Sedges belong to Cyperaceae and grasses belong to the Poaceae family.

  • Both grasses and wedges are of immense importance for humans as well as for animals.

  • Grasses are also of great ecological importance.

  • We get medicines, raw materials for contruction, food from grasses and wedges.

  • They also provide shelter to animals.

Practice Questions

Q1 Are wedges true grasses?

Q2 What is the difference between a sedge and a grass?

Q3 What is the difference between a plant and grass?

Q4 What are the characteristics of sedges?

Q5 Where is sedge found?

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FAQs on Difference Between Grass and Sedge

1. What are rushes?

Rushes are the flowering plants including Juncus, wood rushes, and other families. Rushes are commonly found in temperate regions. They prefer to grow in moist and shady localities.  They are used in many things such as basketwork or weaving chair seats and some are also used in oil lamps. Rushes are perennial plants that grow very slowly. Rushes may be sexual or bisexual but most of them are bisexual. Their flowers are very small and inconspicuous and can be arranged in different cultures.

2. Explain the uses of grasses.

Grasses are the angiosperms that can be seen everywhere such as in forests, grounds, and gardens. Grasses are of various sizes from small to very large as bamboo. These are used as food by grazing animals. Grasses are also used to provide shelter for animals, and also help to protect animals from various enemies. Grasses are also used in constructing various roofs of homes.

These are also used to make furniture and also used as food by humans. These grasses are also used to make medicines.

3. What are the characteristics of a sedge?

Sedge is a flowering plant that forms a dense or cleft of grass. They have three-sided stems and leaves. They may have underground stems with small internodes. They also have thick fibrous roots. They have flowers on the spikes and generally have triangular stems. Sedges have very small flowers that may cluster to form spikes at the top of the stem.

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