Category Archives: Articles and Photo Essays

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

Grass identification takes patience. On a late July afternoon while cycling in Toronto’s Don Valley, I spotted an interesting tall grass growing in shallow water.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)
American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

The next morning I returned with a couple of grass field guides and my camera.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

In order to identify it, I could easily eliminate all grasses which do not grow in wetland areas.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

Then I had a good look at the inflorescence.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

The inflorescence is delicate and individual branches are thin and wiry.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

Cut Grass fits this description but the leaves of the plant I was looking did not have sharp edges.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

My plant is in the Glyceria family. Glyceria is Greek for “sweet” and the seed of some members of this family are sweet to the taste.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

Glyceria is a widespread genus of grass family common across Eurasia, Australia, North Africa and the Americas. In North America it is called Manna Grass.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

In Glyceria each spikelet has 4 – 9 florets.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)
American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

The word “manna” comes from the Bible and refers to the substance miraculously supplied as food to the Israelites in the wilderness.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

This species, Glyceria grandis, has leaves which are 15 – 30 cm long.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

They are about 2 cm wide and have a prominent midvein.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)
American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

American Manna Grass grows in open shallow waters or mud.

American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)
American Manna Grass (Glyceria grandis)

Miles Hearn