The Maryland Native Plant Society

The Maryland Native Plant Society
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  • MNPS Program: Grasses That Bloom in the Spring

MNPS Program: Grasses That Bloom in the Spring

  • 04/27/2021
  • 7:30 PM
  • Zoom Webinar


Registration is closed


We can accommodate 500 viewers on Zoom. First come first served. A recording will be available 2-3 weeks after the program.

Speaker: Lauren Brown

Last October, we had the chance to hear Kevin Dodge’s illuminating and entertaining talk, “Grass Identification For Dummies Like Us: How To Get Started Figuring Out Grasses,” where Kevin introduced us to a newly revised book, Grasses, Sedges, Rushes: An Identification Guide by Lauren Brown and Ted Elliman. This book provides a gentle introduction to these challenging families, using naked-eye characteristics and everyday vocabulary. Now, the lead author Lauren Brown, who wrote the original version in 1979, will follow up on Kevin’s talk by leading us into spring, giving you a head start by describing the common grasses that you can expect to see in the coming months. In the process, she will give tips on distinguishing these various species and show you what characteristics to look for, in the hope of launching you on your own journey of grass ID.

Our speaker,  Lauren Brown,  grew up in Connecticut, in an era when children roamed freely, thus developing a deep love of nature and the outdoors.

With a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, she has held positions at various conservation organizations and taught plant identification at several venues. Her lifelong interest in botany was paralleled by a strong interest in languages, which lead her also to teach Adult English to Speakers of Other Languages for several years. In addition, for many years, she has been active with her local land trust and with the Connecticut Botanical Society.

Her first publication was Weeds and Windflowers in Winter (originally titled Weeds in Winter), a guide to identifying the dried skeletons of herbaceous plants that persist through the wintertime. This was followed in 1979 by Grasses:  An Identification Guide, published by Houghton Mifflin. In 2020, the Yale University Press published a revised and updated edition of this book, co-authored with Ted Elliman, titled Grasses, Sedges, Rushes:  An Identification Guide. The main premise of both editions is that many grasses – and their look-alikes, the sedges and the rushes – can be identified using naked-eye characteristics and everyday vocabulary. For the beginner, it is not necessary to learn specialized terms and depend on magnification to see tiny flower parts.

The program will be presented online through Zoom, in webinar format. You will not be able to share your own audio or video with other participants, but you will be able to submit questions in writing during the program.

Registration is required. After you register, you will receive a registration confirmation email with a link to the Zoom program. 

The program is free and open to the public.

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