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Coiled grass tray
MFA# 1992.197


Any of over 9000 species of grass. Grass is a perennial plant with long, cylindrical leaves that have been used for making paper, ropes, baskets, and fabric. For examples see: Arundo donax, Bear grass, Cuscus grass, Eelgrass, Elephant grass, Elk grass, Esparto grass, Grass cloth, Horsetail, Papyrus, Ramie, Reed, Sedge, Silk grass, and Sorghum.

Woodcut of grass
MFA# 2002.575

Synonyms and Related Terms

Gras (Deut.); gazon (Fr.); gräs (Sven.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Paper fiber type: non-woody/grass. Using transmitted light microscopy, fibers appear thick-walled, short and cylindrical with pointed ends. grasses can be identified by associated cells, such as comma-shaped cells are (unique to Esparto grass), and serrated epidermal cells (tricomb cells), which are present in all grasses except bamboo. Many grasses have barrel shaped parenchyma cells, unwound spiral thickenings, or other cells that can help with identification. It is difficult to distinguish cereal straws from each other. Appearance with Graff "C" stain: dark blue. Common pulping method: Soda.

For specific paper fiber characteristics see: Esparto grass, Bamboo, and Straw.

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998