There’s an endless debate over whether grass is a living or non-living thing. Some people say grass is an inanimate object whose sole purpose is covering the ground and feeding animals.
However, many others believe that grass is living. It shares many similar characteristics with other organisms such as animals, plants, or fungi. For example, grass can eat, drink, breathe, reproduce, and die like animals. So, is grass a living thing?
This article uses a scientific point of view to explain whether grass is living. Let’s explore.
What Is Grass?
Grass is a monocot plant belonging to a grass family called Poaceae. Most grasses have branching roots, jointed stems, and narrow green leaves. Depending on the species, they can be tall or short and usually grow wild or cultivated as lawn grass or pasture.
There are three types of grasses, divided based on seasons:
- Summer grass: They include Bermuda, Bahia, St. Augustine, Centipede, and Zoysia grasses. Summer grasses thrive under warm temperatures.
- Winter grass: They include Bluegrass, Bent, Fescue, and Ryegrass. Winter grasses are best suited for cold environments.
- Transition zone grass: Zoysia, Ryegrass, and Thermal bluegrass are transition zone grasses. They can thrive in cold and warm temperatures.
Grass is common almost everywhere because of its impressive survival skills. It’s one of the earth’s largest families, comprising more than 11,500 species. Turf grass covers around 60,000-65,000 square miles of the United States, larger than Michigan or Georgia.
Is Grass a Living Thing?
Grass is a plant of the kingdom Plantae. And since plants are living organisms, it’s true to say that grass is living. Scientifically, you can categorize grass into different groups of living things. They belong to the kingdom Plantae, subkingdom Tracheobionta, superdivision Spermatophyta, and division Magnoliophyta.
Most of the grass’s physical and internal features prove it’s a living thing. Like animals, grass can grow, reproduce, change, and die. That’s unlike non-living things that don’t grow, reproduce or move.
Living things can be consumers or producers. Humans and animals are consumers because they rely on other living things for food. Grasses are producers because they create their food from raw materials.
On the other hand, non-living things are neither consumers nor producers. They exist in nature as solids, liquids, or gasses. Examples of non-living things are rocks, water, and oxygen.
Why Is Grass Living?
As explained above, grass is a living organism. Below are several points to show that grass is a living organism:
Grasses, like humans and animals, consume food to grow. They photosynthesize using light energy to convert carbon dioxide, water, and minerals into sugar and oxygen.
When grass blades capture light, the green coloring matter (chlorophyll) activates to allow food production. Grass consumes the sugar produced to grow and remain healthy.
The fact that grasses have growth requirements indicates they’re living things. They require air, moisture, sunlight, warmth, and nutrients to grow healthy.
A lack of one of these requirements can affect grass growth. Moreover, grasses can have growth issues or even die if they receive some of these requirements in excess. For example, they require adequate water and sunlight to survive.
Grass growing in excessively wet soil will lack oxygen and cause the roots to die. Similarly, exposure to too much sunlight can destroy grasses. The excessive heat from the sun burns the leaves, causing them to wither. Too much sun can also increase evaporation, leaving grass with no water to absorb.
Living things rely on reproduction to continue their life cycles. It’s one of the reasons why grasses are spread across the world. They can reproduce sexually by involving seeds, flowers, and self-pollination or cross-pollination.
Grass can reproduce asexually through vegetative propagation. Vegetative propagation is the reproduction occurring in the plant’s stem, roots, or leaves. When grass reproduces asexually, new culms sprout from the stem or roots and grow into independent grasses.
Living things have cells which are the fundamental units of life. They can be unicellular, like bacteria, protozoa, and yeast, or multicellular, like humans, trees, and fungi. Grasses are multicellular organisms, thus considered living things.
They contain millions of cells scattered around the stems, leaves, and roots. These cells combine to form what you see as a complete plant. Grass cells are almost similar to human cells. However, their cells have chloroplasts which contain chlorophyll. They also have vacuoles that store food and help in waste disposal.
Animals and plants need to breathe to stay alive. The ability of plants to respire helps to answer the question, “Is grass a living thing?” However, the respiration process in grass and animals is different. Grass takes in CO2 and releases oxygen, while animals inhale oxygen and exhale CO2.
They respire through leaves, stems, and roots. Grass leaves and stems have stomata (tiny holes) that exchange gasses. Their roots inhale CO2 available in the spaces within the soil.
Grasses require Carbon dioxide for photosynthesis to take place. When they respire, they can metabolize, grow and maintain their structure.
Ability to Adapt
Living things adapt to various environmental changes for survival. Like other plants, grass can change its structure to adapt to weather and soil changes.
Grasses spread and straighten their leaves to absorb more sunlight in cold weather. However, if it’s too hot, they roll up the leaves to minimize transpiration. The blades tend to bend towards the sunlight if grass grows under a shade.
Roots penetrate deeper to access water if the soil has less moisture. The roots can also grow towards moist areas near a pond or leaking pipes.
Grass has an apical meristem growing under the soil surface. When humans, animals, or fire destroy the upper part of the grass, the apical meristem ensures it can regrow.
Unlike non-living things, grass can die and decompose. An inorganic matter like stone breaks down instead of dying. It’s worth noting that grass will die if exposed to extreme stress. For example, it can die from a lack of water, air, and sunlight. Humans and animals can also destroy grass, causing it to die.
Generally, grasses and their seeds have a lifespan. A grass will live approximately 3-5 years before dying. However, some species can live longer, up to ten years. Grasses have a beginning and an end, indicating they’re living things.
So, Is Grass a Living Thing?
Grasses are in the plant kingdom, and all plants are living organisms. They have similar characteristics to humans and animals, such as the ability to feed, grow, respire, reproduce, and adapt. Moreover, grasses have cells that make up their entire structure.
Grasses play a significant role in the ecosystem. They’re food to humans and animals and make our environments beautiful. Like other plants, grasses exhale oxygen that animals require for survival.
Hello! My name is Chris, and I am the founder of Yard Floor. When I was a toddler, my family had a lush green lawn. I was at the center of caring for and maintaining this lawn and even proceeded to take an associate’s Degree in landscaping. I am here to share my years of experience with you – be it repairing your mower/tractor or caring for your lawn.