Chapter 3 – Warm Season Grass Crops

The term ‘warm season’ is a broad, general category of plant types that are adapted to growing in warmer climates. As a result, these are crops that are commonly grown during the warmer summer months in much of North America. Warm season crops generally cannot tolerate freezing temperatures (below 32 degrees Fahrenheit/0 degrees Celsius). The warm season crops highlighted here are also all monocots (see this resource for an overview of monocot characteristics). Almost all agriculturally important monocots, including those highlighted here, are in the grass family (Poaceae). These warm season grass crops also share another similarity. They all use a similar photosynthesis system called the C4 photosynthesis system. C4 plants have greater water use efficiency and tend to perform better in warmer and drier climates than plants with the other major photosynthesis system, the C3 system.


These videos provide a brief introduction to some of the major warm season grass crops, including where they were domesticated and their primary uses. In particular, this overview demonstrates how a single species has been selected for different morphological traits to serve different uses. To view the videos in this collage, click on the video play button.  The video will open in the full image and you can click play to start it.  Once you are finished, click on the “X” in the upper right corner to bring you back to the image collage.  If you wish to expand the video to fill your entire screen, clicking “Watch On YouTube” will open a new browser window to give you that option.  All videos have closed captioning. (Photo credit:  Gayle Volk, USDA )


Click through these interactive questions to review the important concepts that were discussed in this chapter.



Crop Diversity: A Virtual Crop Science Field Tour Copyright © 2021 by Patrick F. Byrne; Meagan Schipanski; and Deana Namuth-Covert. All Rights Reserved.

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