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…

After the snowpocalypse 2021

Our Swiss chard had stayed alive up until that freeze and then well- it did not agree. It is brown but makes for pretty pictures

I can’t help it if I like earthy tones.

My sweet lemon thyme was barely bothered. You can see a little bit of frost damage on the leaves but this one will most certainly survive.

I am not going to lie I am really excited they made it through and I am thinking about doing a mass propagation and using this as part of my groundcover. I am kind of excited to see how it plays out.

Not going to lie. I thought my parsley was done for, but there is a little bit of green growing back. It really is a winter mericle but I am excited that the parsley made it out alive.

Parsley isn’t a fan favorite so I probably won’t spread it around but I do like having some on hand just in case.

My fairy garden looks like trash. I just want that noted but I just don’t have the heart to fix it because it is a habitat for so many bugs and birds use these areas to forage for food. I dunno, maybe I should, but things are coming back. Who knows what is good or bad?

Salad Barnett saw no changes. Looks just as bushy as ever. I think I might spread this one out as well. It just seems to do so well and stays green all year. It gives great coverage for insects seeking shelter from the cold and for birds to forage for food.

My English thyme is looking a little frost bitten but I don’t see any reason to be concerned. The plant will continue to grow and is another keeper. We like cooking with it and now we know it can survive cold winters we are sold.

A lot of oregano died but a lot survived. I am glad because this is one of our favorite herbs and we love the way it makes our hands smell. I am going to spread this one around as well. I am just happy to see that the plants are coming back to life. Fingers crossed we don’t get another freeze.

My sweet rosemary. Funny thing: the one outside lived the ones inside died horrible slow deaths. I dont know how it happened but this baby survived and once clipped back this spring will spring into life. I cannot wait. I am super excited.

Finally the sage which survived with flying colors. I didn’t even see any frost damage. I will definitely replant garden sage throughout my permaculture food forest. It seems hardier than the others.

I did not take a picture but my snap dragons survived as well. More to come but things have been busy.

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