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Grasses of Britain
By Richard Parnell (1845) This book also includes the Grasses of Scotland


When, in the autumn of 1842, I published my volume on the Grasses of Scotland, I stated at one part of the preface.  "My original purpose was to embrace in this work all the Grasses of the United Kingdom, but the want of recent specimens of the Grasses peculiar to England and to Ireland made it necessary that, for the present, I should limit my plan. I propose, however, as soon as I have gained the proper opportunities, to publish a similar account of those additional species." Having taken pains since that time to procure those opportunities, I hasten to redeem my promise, by placing before the public the completion of my original plan.

The volume or part now published contains, on the plan followed in " the Grasses of Scotland," a description of all the additional species peculiar to England as well as to Ireland.

Of a few of the species common to Scotland and to one or both of the other great divisions of the United Kingdom, the descriptions have been repeated; and this has been done expressly as often as it appeared that any thing had been omitted, or that any characters could be added or amended, so as to render the distinction of closely allied species more easy. For example, all the species and varieties of the genus  Bromus are described in this volume, or there is a repetition of the descriptions of all the species met with in Scotland, and therefore given formerly in the "Grasses of Scotland" for the species of this genus are more numerous in England than in Scotland, and every botanist will perceive at once a ready source of the improvement of former descriptions in the comparison of a greater number of species.

The plates are not placed, as in "the Grasses of Scotland," at the end of the work, but, for greater ease of reference, opposite to the descriptions to which they relate.

No pains have been spared to make the arrangement of the Tribes and Genera as practically useful as possible, which has led to some variations on the groups employed in "the Grasses of Scotland."

With the same purpose of rendering the work as practically useful as possible, I have introduced a few tables, which I hope may prove of service in facilitating the progress of the student in this difficult department of botany. The first table exhibits the Grasses of the United Kingdom arranged according to their time of flowering from the first week of April to the third week of August In a separate column of the same table is indicated the week of the summer and autumn months in which the seeds ripen, and in the remaining columns are shown the habitat as peculiar to one or more of the divisions of the United Kingdom, or common to England, Ireland, or Scotland, also the page where each grass is described, and the number of the plate where it is figured.

The remaining tables are of less interest to the botanist, 'being drawn from authorities on agriculture, and designed to afford to the cultivator some hints of a general kind, under different circumstances, for the choice and management of grasses.

In conclusion I have only to add, that, to obviate misunderstanding hereafter as to the species and varieties, I shall deposit with the Linnean Society of London a specimen of the original grass plants employed in the descriptions and figures throughout the entire work.

March 1st 1845.

You can download this book with all its illustrations in pdf format here

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