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This book is intended to serve as a guide to the study of grasses of the plains of South India. For the past few years I have been receiving grasses for identification, almost every week, from the officers of the Agricultural and Forest Departments and others interested in grasses. The requirements of these men and the absence of a suitable book induced me to write this book.
I have included in this book about one hundred grasses of wide distribution in the plains of South India. Many of them occur also in other parts of India. The rarer grasses of the plains and those growing on the hills are omitted, with a view to deal with them separately.
The value of grasses can be realized from the fact that man can supply all his needs from them alone, and their importance in agriculture is very great, as the welfare of the cattle is dependent upon grasses. Farmers, as a rule, take no interest in them, although profitable agriculture is impossible without grasses. Very few of them can give the names of at least half a dozen grasses growing on their land. They neglect grasses, because they are common and are found everywhere. They cannot discriminate between them. To a farmer "grass is grass" and that is all he cares to trouble himself about. About grasses Robinson writes "Grass is King. It rules and governs the world. It is the very foundation of all commerce: without it the earth would be a barren waste, and cotton, gold, and commerce all dead."
Diwan Bahadur Kadambi Rangachari (1868