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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…


Have you seen this corn?

Now I am usually the first person to get excited about anything plant related. The thing is I am really excited right now.

You see back in March my parental unit gifted me 10+ year old seeds. I planted different packages of beans (ones bought by myself and others this year and the ones that my parents handed me that had been lost in their infinite freezer).

As you can see my beans

The three rows to the right were planted with those freezer seeds. Sure, my dogs and the birds most likely got rid of a lot but I don’t understand how just one would make it. So, I assumed (like any rational human might) that planting these corn seeds – as they came from the same freezer – would do around the same.

Freezing seeds is not a terrible idea if they are frozen and stored properly. The majority of the bags that I had received had been opened and were held closed by rubber bags. All seeds were then placed in “freezer safe ziploc” bags. One of the tips is that you should date your bad- this bag had not been dated. I was just given “more than ten years old”.

When Freezing seeds the bags need to be completely dry and I am not quite sure if they took any preventative measures. The ziploc did have a lot of air in it though, so I am unsure if there is a freshness guide to go by. Regardless, the beans did not work out for me and I had to look into different options.

So when I went to plant my three rows of corn I just planted everything triple. (There is still a lot of corn left over.) Too many seeds were planted, honestly. Because of my birdie problem I also threw out decoy seeds all over my rows so that they would stop picking at my other seeds (this is because they dug up my others and I was just trying stuff out).

I am not a wise woman. I did not honestly think throwing seeds out would help. If anything I thought it might make things worse and attract the birds to my garden. I figured it would give some of my developing plants a chance to live.

This morning I woke up to find that maybe there is wisdom in my decision after all. I am actually excited. There are so many that took root that I am concerned with how close they are.

There is a picture at 5:30am with my flash on. Did you see all of those little sproutlings? There are so many. It is exciting to see that so many survived my poor gardening skills.

So, I suppose the decoy seeds worked, kind of? Regardless that is a lot of corn and i am excited to see how it all turns out.