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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…

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.

Holidays: Ribbons in trees

Good day, I am sure you are craving a post this holiday because I haven’t been posting as much. Who knew all of this was so much work? I suppose all of the people who told me it was a lot of work. There were a lot of them and right now it’s a labor of love.

This year has been exciting for us and we are happy for the evolution of our family from five to nine. So in honor of the blessings we have been given this year and in all that we gained just by being together we decided to begin a new tradition.

So, this year we tied our wishes and hopes and gratitude to the trees. We are excited about our fruit trees and our berry bushes. We can’t wait to see how this impacts the area not just what we see but also the wildlife it attracts to our humble plot of land.

I know what you’re thinking: where do they get these crazy ideas from?

Wishing Trees are a cool tradition that date back in multiple cultures and civilizations. They have been known as many things but the easiest thing to remember is that you tie something to a tree. This could be fabric, beads, string, yarn or ribbons. Really anything goes but since our trees are young: we stuck to fabric.

We wanted to incorporate something unique that other people in our area weren’t doing into our homestead. I saw the tradition last year and I thought: how neat. I didn’t see it locally- I saw it scrolling through Facebook.

Once we figured out an idea of what we wanted: I just had to incorporate my own spin so I did a little bit of research on the topic and found out that this (like many other things) can be found in all kinds of cultures and in many different forms.

Rich Traditions like this one come from Native Americans, Japanese, Celtic, Scottish and so many others. Each culture has their own spin on the Wishing tree, but let’s be honest I want a bunch of wishing trees. I want a wishing orchard. Some are by fairy wells while others are traditions of tying corn leaves or other parts to trees for a good harvest.

You should know: I am not Scottish or Native American. I would call myself more of a mutt and that is why I want to make it my own so badly.

I think that it turned out well. Remember last year this was all pasture. Now we have over 30 trees. I feel like next year we’ll need more fabric, but I am pleased with the turn out.

Do you do something different? I genuinely want to know.

December 2019

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?”