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Twelve Astonishing Facts
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10. Parties would not be the same without grasses!
Beer is manufactured from Barley. Many popular alcoholic beverages are manufactured from the grains of grasses. Barley, Rye, Rice and Corn are some of the grass grains which are used.

Whisky is manufactured from malted Barley, Rye or Corn, depending on the type of whisky, while Barley malt provides the basis for beer production. Sake is a type of wine popular in Japan, which is made from rice.

To illustrate the scale of some of these alcohol manufacturing industries, it is estimated that British brewers brew in excess of 34 million barrels of beer a year, while in Korea alone, 64.34 million bottles of whisky were consumed in 2002!


11.  Structure and shelter as well as food and drink.
Grasses have been put to a wide variety of uses from grass skirts to paper, thatching, matting and bedding.
Although paper is usually made from wood fibres, it can also be made from a variety of plants, including some grasses. Many grass species have been used for making paper. The grass fibres are extracted and compacted together to make a form of paper.
(The papyrus parchment made by the Ancient Egyptians actually came from a type of sedge, (Cyperus papyrus) rather than a grass.) The Ancient Egyptians mage papyrus parchment from a type of sedge.
copyright; Manry -   Most of the scaffolding used in South East Asia for building construction is made up of bamboo poles.

In places like China, millions of poles will be used every year.

Thatching with grass stalks is one way of weather proofing a house. Wheat straw (the dried stalks of wheat) is an example of a grass which is used for thatching buildings.


In some places, including parts of rural Africa and Asia, grasses are often used to construct entire dwellings (images external link).


12.  An engineering tool of distinction.
Marram Grass is a useful tool for stabilizing shifting sands.  

Creeping grasses with their spreading habits and fibrous root systems, will quickly stabilize bare earth and shifting sands. They are extensively used by engineers in a wide variety of situations, to stabilize bare earth surfaces and prevent erosion. New road sides and shifting sand dunes are two such examples.

Marram Grass (left) is a useful species for stabilizing shifting sand. It is a tall grass with both horizontal and vertical roots which aid in trapping and binding sand grains.

It is can withstand deposition rates of wind-blown sand of up to 1 metre per year.



Related Links


Grass species list


A Guide to Grass Identification

Agricultural Grasslands