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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…


Spiny Orb Weaver Spider and the green splat

How fun are spiders? One of my favorite spiders has to be the Spiny Orb Weaver Spider. It is beautiful and have some cool facts about them that you probably didn’t know.

Now the first thing you should know about spiny is that they don’t live very long. Their life cycles only reach to the end of reproduction.

Females die after releasing a large mass of eggs and males die after fertilizing them.

That’s right they are willing to die to continue the species. Below is the bright example of a Spiny Orb Weaver spider egg sac.

These spiders are harmless. Their only crime would be annoying placement of their webs. They enjoy living in gardens and other larger areas. Each egg sac can have over two hundred new babies waiting to leap out into the world.

They enjoy woody areas, shrubs, and bushes or corners of the home, doorways and patios.

They are another example of a good spider. Sure, if over populating they can do damage to your plants but they eat insects that could potentially do more damage. It’s up to you to weigh your pros and cons.

Frankly, Spiny Orb Weaver spiders are nice to have around if you can stomach their rough exterior. The eggs hatch between 10 to 13 days.

Fun fact: females live alone but there can be up to three males on a single web.

Please note these spiders do not want to be in your house. They love the outdoors. If you see one try not to kill it, they don’t want to be there anymore than you want them there. Safely relocate the spider because they are harmless, beneficial spiders that you probably didn’t notice until now.

Sometimes the answers are staring you straight in the fact and sometimes they are not.

Always research multiple sources before you come to a conclusion and never take an opinion or blog as a fact without further research.