The aerial leaf-bearing branches (culms) are a characteristic feature of grasses.
Its culms and leaves afford excellent fodder for cattle; and the grain, of which the yield in favourable situations is upwards of a hundredfold, is used for the same purposes as maize, rice, corn and other cereals.
After ripening of the seed, the leafless flowering culms always die down.
In some bamboos they are very numerous from the lower nodes of the erect culms, and pass downwards to the soil, whilst those from the upper nodes shrivel up and form circles of spiny fibres.
A, B, C, D, successive series of axes, the last bearing aerial culms. Much reduced.