Plant Names and Classifications

Are you like me and didn’t know that common plant names are not the best way of identifying plants because a lot of the common names get confused or could overlap with others? I mean there are trees that are called oak trees that are not in the same group. It’s just a bunch of craziness and I just want to make it clear: up until this point I was entirely ignorant. I’m cool with it.

Now there is a science to plant classification and in that science there are two categories that we should be aware of and that is the plant taxonomy and plant systematic systems. We used to go by common names but it often became confusing  for a lot of people. Today we classify all plants based on their genetic and evolutionary characteristics, this means that the plants are grouped based on who their common ancestors are.

In horticulture they are primarily concerned with the last three levels of classification: Species, Genus and Family.

The species is the most basic level of classification and below this there can be many subspecies. These plants are usually the most closely related to one another and they can interbreed freely.

The Genus is a group of related species.

The Family is the general group of Genus who are all related by a common ancestor.

There are two important flowering plant families that my professor made sure that we covered. Frankly, I’ve already learned more than what I knew before and I am pleased, but we’re only part of the way through so I’ll continue to let you know what I know or I am learning.

First is the dicot family, which is a flowering family with two cotelydons (embrodic leaves). Just to let you know those cotelydons are inside and this is the largest of the two families. There are over 200,000 types and they are everywhere. They are roses, myrtle trees and so many more.

The second flowering family is the Monocot. They are grass like flowering plants that only have one cotelydon per seed. In agriculture the majority of biomass is created through monocots. You might find a monocot as wheat, rice, bamboo, sugar cane, forage grasses and many others. This family includes many bulb flowers like daffodils, lilies, and iris. They are not simply flowers and grasses but also tumeric, garlic, and asparagus.

Both are angiosperms and very popular. I really enjoy these classes and can’t wait to learn more. How many more things am I going to learn? Who knows but I can’t wait.

Although this information may not be useful right away I am certain being able to identify plant families will be useful in the future. These pictures are by a wonderful lady named Vivian Morris.

Plant names are identified not my their family but by the genus and species. Common names change by region and can be confusing because a rose is a rose and can be any different species of rose if you are looking for a specific type. Although common names can be misleading botanical names are not. The Botanic name is a Latin name accepted world wide.

For example: Magnolia alba or Ligustrum album.

Until next time…

Rosemary Indoors

I am having a lot of fun with rosemary. It is one of my favorite herbs to grow in our garden. I started rosemary in 2020 and I fell in love. Have you ever just taken your face and moved your face between their leaves? It is the greatest experience.

Also this is another perennial for my area. One thing I learned is that perennial doesn’t mean that it will live forever. It only gives the promise of three or more years. The more you know, right?

Rosemary is evergreen that boosts the immune system and helps blood circulation. This plant is high in antioxidants, improves digestion, enhancing memory and concentration, neurological protection, protection against macula degeneration, and many other amazing uses. They have this disclaimer that says: do not bulk up on rosemary and try to just eat all of it. Eating rosemary in bulk can put you into a coma and many other not so cool side effects.

This has been one of the easiest herbs that I have been able to grow. Rosemary can get between 1.5 and 3 meters tall- which is awesome. It can be used as an anti fungal remedy as well.

Fun Fact: this is a beneficial herb to help prevent scurvy and certain cancers.

I love that it is one of the many herbs that grows well in containers. I enjoy the smell and that is an evergreen. It is so pretty. Smells good, tastes good in food and has all of the benefits a humble farmer could want. It makes an excellent border shrub and repels certain insects.

I have dried out a large amount of rosemary and I am really excited about grinding it down. I have been making it into a powder and putting them in cork bottles. One day I plan on doing a lot with it. Unfortunately, my plants aren’t producing large quantities of rosemary just yet.

I have been thinking of it’s uses because I do not use powdered rosemary for cooking. Who knows, but the uses are endless.

Not recommended for women who are pregnant, nursing or wish to become pregnant. If you are taking medications that are prescribed or provide long term medical care always consult a physician before adding rosemary to your diet on a regular basis- as in more than 4 nights a week.

Just putting that out there so that if people see it prevents cancer they don’t eat three pounds, put themselves in a coma then sue me. I don’t have time for all of that nonsense.

Just know rosemary is easy to grow, does well against cats using it as camouflage to attack one another and my children love running their fingers through it and it doesn’t die. I can forget to water it and it doesn’t act dramatic.

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: Fun and Short Additions

Contributed by L. McKnight

All the way from Oregon, Groot wants you to know he is proud of you.

Contributed by Adrienne Westbrook

This is a weeks worth of growth on a Sunflower she planted with her daughter. I love the way she made the pictures come together in this photo. I love the family bonding in Indiana. Enjoy raising those Sunflowers.

These bad boys are the state flower of Kansas. They can grow in medium light and in clay soil. I’ll keep that in mind when I am planting. Birds love Sunflower for their seeds and who can blame them really?

But the most amazing thing is the amount of uses:

  • Poultice from the flowers for burns
  • Crushed root to draw out a blister
  • Leaf tea for high fevers

Also, one last bit a little bit of folklore: some places believe that planting sunflowers can ward off malaria.

Contributed by Colleen Esc

Started from leaf cuttings these Violets have grown to be lovely. So lovely she plans on spreading the love this season. I am sure that everyone will be thrilled, I know that I would.

Many are perennial but some are annual and very few are shrubs. The viola category has around 600 species which is amazing and a little overwhelming, but the flower is edible and can be used to add color to salads. If you needed a reason to plant this beautiful flower.

There are so many absolutely amazing people out there. As the pictures flow in I just keep becoming more excited about the outcome. Keep your eyes out for more plants that people are excited about.

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: Tonasket, Washington

Another lover of plants like myself is out there living the dream. She has sent us pictures of three different plants that are amazing and I can’t wait to look into and mention some cool facts about these amazing plants.

Contributed by Lisa Swinson

First, we have our Thanksgiving Cactus which is native to Brazil. These are primarily house plants. They are known by many names and there are only around 6 to 9 species of this genus. I found that to be very cool.

Contributed by Lisa Swinson

First thing that drew me into this picture was the amounts of snow. I could not imagine or survive such a large amount.

Amazingly, the Douglas Fir can. This tree has a hardiness of zones 4 to 6 and is number one in the lumber industry. If you couldn’t see this tree is an evergreen and absolutely amazing looking in all types of weather, but it really seems as though this tree enjoys the freezing temperatures.

Contributed by Lisa Swinson

This lovely cactus is unknown for now, if you have the answer comment below and I’ll update it. This was an anniversary cactus so we will call it a love cactus or a cactus of love. This commemorates 5 years of marriage and 2 beautiful children.

Greetings from Tonasket, Washington.

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: Pencil Cactus

So I was sitting here thinking about all of the cool things I could do for the New Year that didn’t require money or leaving the house. So I sent out an SOS in a lot of my cooler groups and requested plant pictures. Here is the beginning to my new adventure

This is a pencil cactus. She contributed this because she informed me her love for the Pencil Cactus but let me know that the sap is considered a neurotoxin. This plant can be dangerous if ingested so we have to be careful.

Contributed by Crystal Yeakley

This intrigued me and so I dug a little deeper. This plant produces a poisonous latex that can cause blindness. That does not sound fun but the pictures are absolutely beautiful. The sap is milky, toxic and corrosive.

The blindness is said to be temporary and if exposed to the skin it can cause redness and irritation and burn the skin.

It is native to India and Africa and can be grown in sub tropical areas and greenhouses. I found some Online Tips to help you if you are interested in this lovely and very hard core plant. Definitely deer resistant and just cool to have around.

I think it’s pretty metal that people keep these as house plants. This is a gold star first submission on my mission to keep my kids awake until midnight with cool information and facts that I collected from all over the world.

Ginger in Pots

I just began growing a sprouted ginger in a pot yesterday. This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook groups and there it was: a sign from the universe.

STORY TIME: We had this green shoot come off a piece of ginger I had lost in the back of my spices. I hate forgetting but sometimes, I just buy more. This time it came with a prize: a little baby green shoot. I thought, oh no, it’s winter and you can’t plant new plants outside – so I just potted it and put a little bit of hope into it. I said a lot of beautiful things to it in hopes it would inspire the ginger to grow like crazy.

Photo credit to Ronel Bey

Then the universe gifted me with the answer to the question: can you grow ginger in a pot? I had wondered when I potted the ginger, but I didn’t feel the need to research because this was the baby sprouts only chance.It was magic everyone, I just potted this yesterday and now I was seeing it in a Facebook group. Is this what fate feels like? I am so excited.

They posted the answer with easy to go to links. I followed those links because I just tried this yesterday.

Epic Gardening informed me that if you look for ginger at the store (to grow) you should look for eyes like you do potatoes. Also, the larger your ginger is determines how much we’ll get. Ginger grows faster and you’ll get more ginger when you pick larger pieces of ginger. This is because they’ll have more sprouts and that will lead to more shoots and more roots.

Ronel Bey is so amazing he has all of this ginger. I am impressed. I want to grow ginger now too.

He says that you need a shallow pot with good drainage. Now that I am seeing what he is doing: maybe I’ll repot mine. He says I should just barely cover it up. I will have to pull my ginger closer to the surface, and I should just give them enough water to tell them to grow but be sure not to over water the ginger.

They enjoy heat, humidity and water. He gave use some tips to look for as our ginger grows, which i found helpful you might too: Browning tips means your ginger needs water. Yellow leaves means your, nutrient loving, plant needs some nutrients. Give them the fertilizer they will thank you for it later.

Ginger can always produce new ginger was pretty cool too. You harvest at the end and they can be dry stored for a while. I like that because I enjoy using ginger in my cooking but sometimes I don’t have a recipe to require it.

My shoot of ginger that I am so pleased with

You should always look for multiple sources… So, I went and clicked a suggested video. 5 ways to get tons of ginger (Top Tips) is where I am going, he’s Australian which is appealing because I love the accent. That distracted me for the entire video and I can’t wait to try growing them outside next year.

It was not useful for containers, but it will probably be useful in the Spring. I can’t wait to get it started and he has such a lovely accent. His tips have also helped me before which made it a lot easier for me to consider his advice.

I love international channels because they place importance on different things. This YouTube channel Everyday simple health tips has a lot of useful information and this is specifically about growing ginger in containers.

Another Ronel Bey picture, I do not have my own pictures of a successful harvest yet so I must live through others.

He suggests that I dry my ginger out 10 to 20 hours before planting, which is good because my ginger was super dry. It probably was out longer than 20 hours, but we’ll see how it goes.

He also shows himself planting it not far from the top of the soil. I really love it when multiple sources use the same information, it shows that it is a common tip and will most likely be beneficial.

We should see a sprout in 10 to 15 days. After 6 months we should be ready to harvest the ginger. I like the time line in the video so that I know when to give up on this plant. The easier for me to understand the more likely I am to return.

We are going to see how this adventure works out. I will do more research and find out what I can, but I am excited to have a baby ginger sprout.

It is now snug as a bug in a rug only a few inches from the top of the soil.

What is this beautiful tree?

I never noticed it before I saw the leaves die. I love the way it looks from my porch and now I want more. It’s not that I don’t love pine trees but these are beautiful. They came with the house and the property.

All Summer this stree has looked green and has been existing. Nothing to report outside of a few worms that I pulled off with my bare hands. That’s right, I pulled them off like a man. It’s so funny because I want to make clones of that tree too and I am not even sure what kind it is. I must learn this first, but frankly….

Continue reading “What is this beautiful tree?”
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