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.

Healthy Hopefuls: Endive and Arugula

After 5 days. They are still babies.

I started planting endive and arugula. I was told I should plant them in January, they can’t be transplanted until after the front but they need a little bit more time.

At 8 days we had a few more popping up. This is a mixture. One side is arugula and one side is endive.

I think we should start with endive. I should let you know that before this I had no idea what endive was or that it was a thing. You should know that I am new to this and I am trying everything.

Still 8 days. They are just now coming out of their seeds you can see that on this one. It’s lovely.

We planted endive because it can take longer to mature than other plants. It grows like lettuce. They are a leafy green that can be placed in salads for a bitter taste [which is allegedly good in salads].

11 days and we are strength training our sprouts with a fan to over the stove. I know it sounds silly but it helps us thin out weaker sprouts and they are strengthening their stems for our windy area.

The primary reason we are growing it is due to the fact that it is high in fiber and endive glycemic index is very low at 15, which can help prevent spikes in blood glucose after meals. I do not have diabetes but it is a beneficial plant to keep in your garden just in case. Plus we’ve never tried it before. It could be a delicious addition to our salads.

11 days from the top under their grow light. I swear one day the cops are going to come over with a warrant and be very disappointed to find lots of herbs and plants.

Now arugula has this tangy flavor and is also known to help lower blood sugar. It is known to lower the risks to cancer, osteoporosis, assists in preventing insulin resistance, improves the heart and rich in vitamin K. Remember when dealing with vegetables that are high in vitamins similar to K that you should slowly introduce as this vitamin helps assists in blood clotting.

Day 15 and these babies are busting out. You can really see how putting the fan on them for a couple of hours twice a week has caused their thin stalks to thicken and some of the taller sprouts have fallen away.

They say that arugula is said to have a peppery taste as well. It can be chewed to combat sour breath so I have read. Again, this one is new to me but have you see the benefits? I am really impressed. I can’t wait to find out how arugula tastes. They say you can put it in salads, smoothies, and omelets. I am sure that there are a million ways to make it.

More day 15.

I enjoy learning about these cool foods are out there and how having them might benefit my family. I feel like I am missing a lot of useful information. I am hoping that I can continue to learn amazing things that we can all benefit from.

An from the top picture of my plants. From the top boys is all I said and they started posing. Look at Arnaldo, he is so proud of himself growing from the side.

Healthy Hopefuls: Endive and Arugula

After 5 days. They are still babies.

I started planting endive and arugula. I was told I should plant them in January, they can’t be transplanted until after the front but they need a little bit more time.

At 8 days we had a few more popping up. This is a mixture. One side is arugula and one side is endive.

I think we should start with endive. I should let you know that before this I had no idea what endive was or that it was a thing. You should know that I am new to this and I am trying everything.

Still 8 days. They are just now coming out of their seeds you can see that on this one. It’s lovely.

We planted endive because it can take longer to mature than other plants. It grows like lettuce. They are a leafy green that can be placed in salads for a bitter taste [which is allegedly good in salads].

11 days and we are strength training our sprouts with a fan to over the stove. I know it sounds silly but it helps us thin out weaker sprouts and they are strengthening their stems for our windy area.

The primary reason we are growing it is due to the fact that it is high in fiber and endive glycemic index is very low at 15, which can help prevent spikes in blood glucose after meals. I do not have diabetes but it is a beneficial plant to keep in your garden just in case. Plus we’ve never tried it before. It could be a delicious addition to our salads.

11 days from the top under their grow light. I swear one day the cops are going to come over with a warrant and be very disappointed to find lots of herbs and plants.

Now arugula has this tangy flavor and is also known to help lower blood sugar. It is known to lower the risks to cancer, osteoporosis, assists in preventing insulin resistance, improves the heart and rich in vitamin K. Remember when dealing with vegetables that are high in vitamins similar to K that you should slowly introduce as this vitamin helps assists in blood clotting.

Day 15 and these babies are busting out. You can really see how putting the fan on them for a couple of hours twice a week has caused their thin stalks to thicken and some of the taller sprouts have fallen away.

They say that arugula is said to have a peppery taste as well. It can be chewed to combat sour breath so I have read. Again, this one is new to me but have you see the benefits? I am really impressed. I can’t wait to find out how arugula tastes. They say you can put it in salads, smoothies, and omelets. I am sure that there are a million ways to make it.

More day 15.

I enjoy learning about these cool foods are out there and how having them might benefit my family. I feel like I am missing a lot of useful information. I am hoping that I can continue to learn amazing things that we can all benefit from.

An from the top picture of my plants. From the top boys is all I said and they started posing. Look at Arnaldo, he is so proud of himself growing from the side.

Project Grow Your Roots: I love Plants

Contributed by Ann Millington

These are her Osteospermums. She took this picture in April. They are so happy in her green house.

These flowers are better known as African Daisies, I had to look it up because I couldn’t pronounce that. I didn’t find any benefit other than looks but it is still a win in my book.

Contributed by Tina Hitchens

She let’s us know this is a pomegranate tree from Granada, Spain. She say the birds love the fruit, which I don’t doubt it is a magnificent tree.

Fun fact I learned from our contributer: the word for pomegranate in Spanish is Granada and has beautiful red flowers.

This gets me excited about my own pomegranate trees. I hate having to wait for things to happen.

Contributed by Alison Maparura

While sharing her plants she said, “2020 – when things go wrong find the little left that gives hope, nurture it and watch it grow. Wishing you, yours and my tradescantia a happy and healthy 2021.” We appreciate the warm wishes and our homestead wishes you the same.

This is also called a Spiderwort. This is a perennial flower and allegedly can be grown in any part of the United States. Western spiderwort is considered an endangered species in Canada.

Native Americans may have used this go relieve stomach problems. I don’t know for sure, I’m not an expert but it’s on the interweb so you can find it yourself if you want more specific information.

Fun fact: the flowers are blue but if they turn pink it is because of radiation levels. These flowers can be used as a bioassay, how you determine potency in a substance, to measure radiation levels. I thought that was a cool cookie.

Contributed by Susan Lowrie

Delphiniums come in lots of colors and are perennials as well. They are not are not for my zone. Only to 7… I am disappointed, but they are cool to learn about. All flowers are toxic to humans and livestock and is also known as Larkspur. These flowers can be used to make a dye.

Project Grow Your Roots: Update

Good day humans, it is I. So I have gotten a lot of responses which I love and with that comes the fun part. So I have been keeping up with these as best as I can, but my plan is to make a video and go over it together on New Years. Hopefully my kids will appreciate the time I put in and my oldest said she’d help, which is always nice.

Now without further ado more pictures of plants from all over:

Contributed by Laura Notobartolo

She calls his her dragon tree because of the dragon figurine. This is how they figure our if they need to water their houseplants, which is brilliant. He has also made flowers which is the best part. I love the dragon figurine ideas, if it sinks the ground needs water. Smart stuff from strangers on the internet.

Contributed by Luna Jade

She grew some pumpkins out of her compost and they seem really happy to be there. This is from her 2019 garden, she’s right: Mother Nature will find a way.

Contributed by Kristel Corter Webbe

Now this lady wanted to show off her pumpkin, she put it in a hammock to support it’s growth and boy did it grow. I am impressed. She says it came out to be a 35 lbs pumpkin. I am impressed and I hope you are too.

We have more on the way as soon as I sort them all out. Have a great day and stay safe.

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.

Morning Glory folklore

I know, I haven’t been participating but being an adult is hard. I’ve been busy doing fun things like looking up facts about morning glories.

Did you know that Morning Glories are seen as a symbol of unrequited love? Also, the morality of life- which makes no sense because the morning glory is invasive.

Originating in South America and moved in everywhere. They are amazing flowers but we are not here to talk about their origins, we’re here to talk about their meaning and some cool stories.

That’s right boys and girls, the morning glory has many meanings from many cultures. I am just going to go over a few, remember I just went down a rabbit hole and thought that other people might find this information equally distracting. So, you’re welcome.

First let me start by saying: always look this stuff up on your own if you want more information on a topic. I am not an expert on flower folklore but I welcome the information.

Let’s start with: Restricted love is one of the meanings. That’s right, give someone some morning glories if you want them to know you want to set some boundaries. Slowing down or descalating a situation.

This comes from a Chinese story about two lovers who were in love-love with each other. Their passion for one another grew until they neglected everything else in their lives. They became gross, like wouldn’t clean up after themselves or maintain their daily responsibilities, and the Gods did not approve. It was a bad decision on their part because the Gods were really invested in this one couple. Upset by their decision to be nasty slobs, they cursed them to only be able to meet once a year, because that’s what God’s did back in the day.

In Victorian literature it was placed on graves to symbolize a never ending love. Something that could never die even when one of them was gone or if they’re alive it can mean that their love isn’t returned. I mean, I suppose it aligns with the whole: setting boundaries theme we have going here.

Early Christians saw them as a symbol for morality because they bloom in the morning and the blooms wither do quickly. This is where morality comes into play and that is kind of fun. I did not realize at the beginning and now I pull my previous statement for a mutual understanding of the symbolism. I am educated.

I first started these bad boys in September. I thought long and hard about their growth and how they were doing and we decided that we should plant them. It’s cool that I found of their meaning even if it was after planting them.

We knew that if we planted them in early October- since we live in zone 8a- and we don’t usually see winter until the end of December.

The buttons did not survive- our cats are merciless and were very attracted to the leaves that the bachelor’s buttons produced. Regardless, we planted the morning glories in hopes they would have time to flower (which they did) and hopefully reproduce.

We want them all over the front of our new trellis system. (We are still building it, but we are getting there update soon) it’s going to be amazing as soon as we get all of the concrete we need.

They grew up to have beautiful full leaves and I am kind of excited. I had no idea that Morning Glories had pokey pieces though- that was something I learned after it began to vine out.

I can’t wait to see what they look like in the spring. Until next time…

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