The grass family is of particular interest to humans. Most people on earth rely on grasses, including rice, wheat, and maize, for a major portion of their diet. Domestic animals are raised on diets partly or wholly of grasses. In addition, grasses form an important part of the urban and suburban landscape in much of the world. Members of the family also are ecological dominants, covering approximately 20% of the earth's land surface (Shantz, 1954).

The grass family includes approximately 10,000 species classified into 600 to 700 genera (Clayton and Renvoize, 1986; Watson and Dallwitz, 1999). The grasses are included with lilies, orchids, pineapples, and palms in the group known as the monocotyledons, which includes all flowering plants with a single seed leaf.

The following links are to sites with keys to identify common British grasses.

http://www.caf.wvu.edu/~forage/library/bulletins/Identification%20of%20Hay%20and%20Pasture%20Grasses.pdf

http://www.brerc.eclipse.co.uk/files/brerc_grass_key.pdf

http://www.countrysideinfo.co.uk/grass_id/

http://www.offwell.free-online.co.uk/grass_id/intro.htm

http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-biology/biodiversity-your-backyard

http://www.natureserve.org/publications/pubs/worldGrasslands.pdf

http://www.thewildclassroom.com/biomes/grasslands.html