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Botany - Flower terms
Category: Animals and Nature > Botany
Date & country: 09/09/2007, USA
Words: 2339


Aaronsbeard
(Hypericum) This large group consists of about 370 perennials and evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs that grow throughout the temperate regions of the world. These plants are great for the rock garden, herbaceous border and shrubbery. The shrubby kinds are especially pretty as they produce a profusion of bright or golden yellow flowers in the summer and autumn. The blossoms have five petals and numerous, prominent stamens. E. calycinum (Aaronsbeard; St. John's Wort) is a dwarf, evergreen s…

Abele
(Populus) Populus is a large group of deciduous (leaf-losing) trees that can attain great heights. These trees, commonly known as Aspen, Poplar and Cottonwood trees, are found in Europe, Asia and North America. Some are found wild in other regions, one being a native of tropical Africa. It is difficult to say how many wild kinds there are, because these trees hybridize very easily. Some of the Poplars are very pretty in bloom, especially the male forms, which may also have reddish leaves when th…

Abelia
These pretty deciduous or evergreen shrubs are originally from China, Japan, the Himalayas and Mexico. They belong to the Honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae. Their waxy, funnel- or tubular-shaped flowers are borne in profusion and their calyxes often remain attractive long after the rest of the flower has fallen off. A. grandiflora, the Glossy Abelia, is a beautiful hybrid that grows 3 to 6 ft. high and is covered with lustrous, dark green leaves. The lightly scented, white flowers are sta…

Abeliophyllum
(White Forsythia) This group includes a single deciduous shrub. A. distichum, also known as White Forsythia, is native to Korea. It grows slowly with thin branches  and only grows to a maximum of 3 feet. The branches contain leaves that are opposing and may change color to purple in the fall. In spring it shows a white flower tinted with pink that only reaches about a ½� in diameter. These shrubs grow in small groups and there best growing season is from late winter through …

Abelmoschus
(Father Of Musk) Father of muck, 15 species of annual and pernnial herbs…

Abies
(Fir Tree) These hardy, evergreen trees are natives of North America, reaching as far south as Central America and Taiwan, northern Asia, northern Africa and Europe. Abies are commonly known as Fir trees and belong to Pinaceae, a section of the Conifer family, Coniferae. They are valued for planting as lawn ornaments. They usually grow 80 feet or more high and in their native habitats, 200 or more feet high. Only a few Firs can survive in northeastern America; many thrive in the moister Pa…

Abutilon
(Chinese Hemp, Chinese Lantern, Flowering Maple, Indian Mallow) These deciduous, tender shrubs and trees are natives of Brazil, tropical Asia and India and are commonly known as Flowering Maples. They have handsome foliage and gorgeous, bell- or saucer-shaped blossoms. A. 'Canary Bird' is a medium-sized shrub with large, apple green leaves and bright yellow, bell-shaped flowers, throughout the summer and into early autumn. A. 'Cannington Peter' is a medium-sized shrub that produces very da…

Acacia
(Thorntree, Wattle, Yellow-Fever Acacia, Umbrella Acacia, Mimosa, Sensitive Plant, Silver Wattle, Coastal Myall) This group consists of about 1,000 species that are found in tropical and subtropical regions, especially in Australia and Africa. These evergreens should not be confused with the trees and shrubs commonly known as acacia, which belong to the group Robinia. These tender evergreens are totally different and are commonly known as Mimosas and Wattles. The Australian types are called…

Acalypha
(Chenille Plant) These are tender shrubs that are mostly native to the tropics. The only one worth cultivating for its flowers is the Chenille Plant, Acalypha hispida (A. Sanderiana). In the summer and fall this plant produces long tassels of bright red flowers. There is also a white variety, alba. Other kinds are grown for their pretty foliage.…

Acanthus
These perennials grow wild in the grasslands, woods, scrub and rocky hills of the Balkans, Romania, Greece, eastern Mediterranean, and Africa. These plants, known as Bear's Breeches, need winter protection if grown in the North. They form lush clumps of shiny, dark green, lance-shaped leaves, which are deeply lobed. The leaves of A. spinosus are strewn with spines. The funnel shaped flowers grow in spikes from 2 to 5 feet long, in the summer. The flowers of A. hungaricus are white or pale …

Acer
(Box Elder, Maple Tree, Moosewood) These are hardy, ornamental trees that vary in height. The dwarf, Japanese Maples are only 2-3 feet high and some of the North American kinds may grow 100 or more feet. These trees are natives of various parts of Europe, North America and Asia. The word acer, is the Latin name for Maple. The Maples that are commonly grown are deciduous (leaf losing) and most are hardy in the North. Most Maples have clusters of small, greenish-white or yellow flower…

Achillea
These hardy perennials are great for the herbaceous border and the rock garden. They are easy to cultivate and many will survive in poor soil. Their height varies from 6 inches to 3 feet. Their foliage is pretty and dainty and somewhat resembles a fern. They produce bunches of single or double, small flowers resembling daisies. They are mainly found wild in the countries of southern Europe. They belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. A.ptarmica is an erect, spreading plant. Its shiny, dar…

Acidanthera
These are tender bulbs from Africa that belong to the Iris family, Iridaceae. They need the same treatment as Gladiolus, but need a longer growing season. This is why it is better, in the North, to plant groups of them in large tubs or pots; they are set outside during the summer and brought into a cool greenhouse before frost. They will bloom in late autumn. A. bicolor has white and purple flowers. Its variety is Murielae and they are both fragrant and the most hardy. They may be planted …

Aconitum
(Monkshood, Wolf's Bane) These fibrous- and tuberous-rooted perennials belong to the Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. They are found wild in the meadows of Europe and East Asia. They grow from 3 to 4 feet high, and the roots and plants are poisonous. A. Sparks Variety (Monkshood) is an upright plant with dark green leaves that are deeply divided into 3 or 5 thin, shiny lobes. The large, hooded flowers are rich violet-blue and produced on widely branching stems in mid- to late summer. A. ca…

Acorus
(Sweet Flag) These are attractive, herbaceous, aquatic and bog plants. They are great for planting in shallow water and wet places near the edges of a garden pool or pond. A. Calamus has long, sword-shaped leaves, which, when bruised, emit a strong scent. It produces small, yellow flowers in summer and can grow up to 3 feet high. A. gramineus is a dwarf Japanese kind that has slender, grass-like leaves. The word Acorus is derived from kore, a pupil and refers to the alleged ophthalm…

Acradenia
This group consists of two, evergreen species. A. frankliniae is an erect-growing, small- to medium-sized shrub. It has pretty, fragrant, glossy dark green leaves and flat clusters of white flowers, in late spring.…

Actaea
These hardy perennials, known as Baneberries, are found wild in woodlands of eastern North America, Asia and Europe. They are compact, clump forming plants that grow up to 3 feet high and wide. Their green leaves are lobed, serrated and have long stalks. In early summer, small, white flowers are produced in fluffy, globular heads atop thin stems. These are followed by poisonous, round berries that may be white, red, or blue.…

Actinidia
(Bower Actinidia, Chinese Gooseberry, Kiwi, Manchurian Pineapple, Siberian Gooseberry, Silver Vine, Tara Vine, Yang-Tao) This group consists of about 30 species of hardy and tender, deciduous, climbing plants that are natives of eastern Asia. These plants are great for growing on trellises, along fences, covering walls, or tall stumps. They are grown for their beauty as well as their fruits and are commonly known as Kiwi or Chinese Gooseberry. A. chinensis (also known as A. deliciosa) is a …

Actinodium
Semishrub. There are only two species in this small Western Australian genus.…

Actinotus
(Flannel Flower) This genus of 17 species of small annual or perennial herbaceous plants…

Adenanthos
(Basket Flower, Proteaceae, Woollybush) A genus of some 30 specises (Shrubs ) , confined to south western, Australia…

Adenia
This group of caudiciforms (succulents with a swollen base) is native to Southern and Eastern Africa, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Somalia. Many varieties form a large trunk covered in vining branches. The inconspicuous flowers of these plants are unisexual and borne on separate plants. Some species are equipped with thorns, while most are filled with poisonous sap; therefore, care should be taken when pruning. The varieties that produce leaves are deciduous. A. spinosa forms a round, caudex …

Adenium
(Desert Azalea, Desert Rose, Impala Lily, Impala Star, Mock Azalea, Sabi Star) This group of succulents is mainly from Africa, though one variety is found in Arabia and one on the Isle of Socotra. The gorgeous blossoms of these bushy plants resemble those of the Oleander to which they are closely related. The open-faced flowers are ordinarily crimson, pink, or white and are followed by green seedpods. They grow periodically from spring to fall on new growth. Like the Oleanders, all the spe…

Adiantum
(Black Stem Maidenhair Fern, Delta Maidenhair Fern, Giant Maidenhair Fern, Maidenhair Fern, Rough Maidenhair Fern) There are many kinds of Adiantum, commonly called Maidenhair Ferns. Most of them are natives of tropical countries, but two are hardy and can be grown outside in the North. One hardy kind is A. pedatum, native of North America. Its graceful fronds grow 18 to 24 inches long. They flourish in shade and woodsy soil made by adding leaf mold and sand. This plant is great for clumpin…

Adonis
(Flower Of Adonis, Pheasant's Eye) These hardy perennials and annuals belong to the Buttercup family Ranunculaceae. There is a legend that this plant grew up from the blood of Adonis when he was wounded by a wild animal. These plants, also known as Pheasant's Eye or Flower of Adonis, grow from 6 inches to a foot high, and the same wide. They form clumps of green, fern-like foliage. A. brevistyla is a perennial that is native to damp forests, scrub, and rocky ravines of Bhutan and West Chin…

Adromischus
(Calico Hearts, Clam Plant, Crinkle-Leaf Plant) This group consists of about fifty succulent plants, which are natives of South Africa. They are mainly grown for their fleshy, ornamental foliage, which comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. While some varieties grow from 4 to 6 inches high, most of these plants form small clumps. The small flowers grow atop single stems and vary in color from white to red. A. cooperi (Plover Eggs) has 11/4 to 11/2-inch long, purple-blotched leaves that …

Aechmea
(Vase Plant) These plants are found in tropical America. They can be raised in the hot house or home. The bloom mostly in the summer and fall and they need a minimum winter temperature of 55 degrees when grown under glass. Their leathery leaves have spines around the perimeters and as they grow directly from the base they overlap each other to form a long tube from which the flower spike emerges. Some have scarlet and blue flowers, some have pink flower heads with blue flowers and some have red,…

Aegopodium
(Bishop's Weed, Goutweed, Groundelder) These plants are commonly known as Bishop's Weed, Goutweed, or Groundelder. They are creeping perennials, usually grown as a ground cover, growing from 4 to 6 inches high. A. podagraria variegatum has aromatic leaves, which are divided into 3 to 9 oval, pointed, serrated leaflets. They are grayish-green unevenly edged with creamy-white. They produce tiny, white flowers in the summer, though they are unnoticeable. This Aegopodium is the only one worth planti…

Aeonium
(Dinner Plate, Pinwheel, Purple Rose Tree, Saucer Plant, Velvet Rose) This group mostly consists of quick-growing, small to medium-sized succulents that form rosettes of waxy leaves. These succulents may be stem-less or shrub-like. Natives of the Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Madeira and parts of Africa, they thrive best in warm, dry climates. Since they grow well in direct sunlight, they are good for window gardens, though some prefer shade. Mature plants range in height from 1½ to 6 feet…

Aesculus
(Buckeye, Horse Chestnut) These trees are natives of North America, Europe and Asia and are commonly known as Buckeyes and Horse Chestnuts. These beautiful trees are suitable for planting along roads, in parks and gardens, and near the sea. A. Hippocastanum (Common Horse Chestnut) is a handsome tree that grows from 40 to 60 feet high. It has palmate leaves consisting of 7, oblong leaflets, which are 4 to 6 inches long. They have pointed bases broadening toward the end and toothed edges. In the s…

African Daisy
(Arctotis) These annuals and tender perennials are natives of South Africa and belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. They grow 1 to 2½ feet high, usually have fuzzy leaves and produce single-stemmed flowers, 2 inches across, in most colors except blue.…

African Lily
(Agapanthus) This group consists of tender, evergreen or deciduous plants, which are natives of South Africa and belong to the Lily family, Liliaceae. Most African Lilies are evergreen in mild-winter climates. The fleshy rhizomes of these plants spread over the soil's surface and support a short, more or less tuberous rootstock. Agapanthus, also known as African Lilies and Lilies-of-the-Nile, produce clumps of long, shiny, strap-like leaves, which look attractive even when the plant…

African Mask
(Alocasia) This group consists of seventy, tender plants, which grow from rhizomes in the tropical forests of Borneo, Ceylon, Malaysia and Asia. These plants (commonly known as African Masks and Elephant's Ears) are mainly valued for their gorgeous leaves, which are very large, heart- or spade-shaped and beautifully colored and variegated in gleaming shades of green, purple, bluish-green, red and bronze. They also produce small, calla-like flower spathes. A. cuprea produces erect clumps of…

African Violet
(Saintpaulia) These compact, delicate plants are from central Africa. They form clusters of ovate leaves close to the soil. The leaves and stems are dark green on top, greenish-white underneath, succulent and fuzzy. The pretty flowers resemble large Violets in their shape and color, some are blue, purple, white, pink or magenta and they have little yellow centers. They bloom at any time of the year. They are known as African Violets. These are great as greenhouse plants and are very popular hous…

Agapanthus
(African Lily, Lily Of The Nile) This group consists of tender, evergreen or deciduous plants, which are natives of South Africa and belong to the Lily family, Liliaceae. Most African Lilies are evergreen in mild-winter climates. The fleshy rhizomes of these plants spread over the soil's surface and support a short, more or less tuberous rootstock. Agapanthus, also known as African Lilies and Lilies-of-the-Nile, produce clumps of long, shiny, strap-like leaves, which look attractive …

Agastache
(Anise Hyssop, Blue Giant Hyssop, Fragrant Giant Hyssop) Anise Hyssop is a half-hardy perennial native to North America. It is a handsome, erect-growing plant that can reach a height of 4 feet. It has many branches and they are terminated with short spikes of violet-blue flowers. This is a good landscape and bee plant. Its fragrant, anise scented foliage may be used for teas and seasoning.…

Agave
(American Aloe, Century Plant, Maguey) This large group consists of rosette-forming succulents, which are usually short-stemmed, although some varieties will form stems up to 3 feet high. Agaves are mostly natives of Mexico, though some are found wild in the West Indies and a few in the United States. They may be planted outdoors in mild climates, especially those that are desert and semi-desert; otherwise, they may be grown in a greenhouse and when small, as houseplants. In regions with h…

Agave Cactus
(Leuchtenbergia) There is only one species in this group. L. principis (Agave Cactus; Prism Cactus) is a very slow-growing cactus from Mexico. This plant has a large, tuberous taproot and a cylindrical shaped stem that becomes bare and corky at the base with age. It has long, slender, grayish-green tubercles, which look like a rosette of leaves. The tubercles have puplish-red blotches at their tips and are topped with papery spines giving it the appearance of a miniature Agave, thus the common n…

Ageratum
(Flossflower) These medium and low growing annuals are natives of Mexico. They have ovate leaves, 2 inches long and small clusters of fluffy, lavender-blue, white or pink flowers that are from 2 to 4 inches across. They are used for edging or carpeting flowerbeds, for window and porch boxes and in borders.…

Aglaonema
(Chinese Evergreen) These plants are from tropical Asia and Africa. They are grown for their ornamental foliage in homes and greenhouses and outdoors where climates allow. They produce tufts of long-stemmed, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, dark green leaves that may be from 6 to 12 inches long; they may be smeared with pale silvery green, gray-green or gray-white. In the summer, small, white or greenish-white spathes will grow.…

Agonis
(Agonis Linearifolia, Juniper Myrtle, Willow Myrtle, Willow Peppermint) This genus of some 12 species is found only in Western Australia. They are shrubs and small trees. Leaves small to long, alternate, entire, often densely clustered. Flowers small, clustered white to pale pink…

Agonis Linearifolia
(Agonis) This genus of some 12 species is found only in Western Australia. They are shrubs and small trees. Leaves small to long, alternate, entire, often densely clustered. Flowers small, clustered white to pale pink…

Ailanthus
(Chinese Sumach, Paradise Tree, Tree Of Heaven) These deciduous, tall-growing trees are natives of China and India. They are commonly known as Trees of Heaven, Chinese Sumachs and Paradise Trees. These trees grow quickly and in many types of soil and climates. They are very resistant to diseases and pests and are suitable for growing in cities. The most popular kind is A. altissima. This variety can grow from 50 to 100 feet high. It has large, pinnate leaves, 1½ to 3 feet long, alternately arran…

Ajuga
(Bugleweed) These perennials and annuals are natives of Europe and form rosettes of colorful foliage. The commonly cultivated kinds are perennials. A. reptans atropurpurea has oblong to spoon-shaped, dark bronze-purple leaves. Its small, two-lipped flowers are tubular and borne in short, whorled spikes in the spring; they are colored blue, occasionally pink or white. It grows up to 6 inches high and spreads up to 3 feet. A. reptans multicolor has spoon-shaped leaves colored dark green mark…

Akebia
This group consists of hardy, semi-evergreen, climbing plants that are natives of Japan, China, and Korea. They are grown for their pretty flowers and foliage. The flowers of these plants are followed by interesting, sausage-shaped, edible fruits. They are suitable for growing over hedges, low trees, bushes, or stumps. A. quinata (Fiveleaf Akebia) is a large, vigorous climber that grows from 28 to 40 feet high. The leaves consist of five, notched, green leaflets that are flushed with red. In mid…

Albizzia
(Mimosa, Silk Tree) Albizzia is a group of quick-growing, popular flowering trees, grown in the southern and western parts of the U.S. Albizzias are natives of Persia, Japan, and other Eastern countries and in Australia. A. Julibrissin, commonly known as Mimosa or Silk Tree, can reach a height of 30-40 feet. The foliage is feathery, resembling a fern's and their leaflets fold together at night. The 5- to 8-inch fluffy clusters of pink flowers are produced all summer long and are very attractive …

Albuca
This group of succulent bulbs is originally from South Africa. The species belonging to this group are fairly easy to grow as long as they are kept fairly dry when dormant. A. spiralis is a very interesting variety that produces slender, fleshy, glossy green leaves that grow in a tight corkscrew when exposed to bright light. The succulent bulb of this plant can grow more than 2 inches in diameter, eventually forming clusters. In late summer, an unbranched flower spike, growing up to 6 inches hig…

Alcea
(Hollyhock) This group consists of about sixty, tall, herbaceous plants commonly known as Hollyhock. These beautiful plants range in height from 6 to 10 feet. Their large, rough leaves have five to seven lobes. In the summer and early fall, long, upright spikes of large, single or double flowers that may be white, pink, rose, red, crimson, purple, yellow, or peach are produced. The flowers open individually from the bottom up. Hollyhocks are biennial, but they self-seed readily making them seem …

Alchemilla
A. conjuncta forms clumps of circular leaves having 7 to 9 segments joined at the base, with teeth almost hidden by silky hair. They are blue-green above and silver beneath. It produces tiny, star-shaped, greenish-yellow flowers in bunches during the summer. This plant grows up to a foot high and wide. It is found wild in the sub-alpine meadows and rocky streamsides in the Jura and southwest Alps. A. mollis, Lady's Mantle, forms clumps of soft green foliage that is circular, made up of 9 to 11 r…

Alder
(Alnus) These quick-growing trees are commonly known as Alders. They are natives of Europe, North America and Asia. Alders grow well in moist soil near ponds and other wet ground. Alders are often seen with many trunks; however, they can be trained when young to have only one. A. cordata (Italian Alder) is an attractive tree that grows from 30 to 50 feet high. Its glossy green leaves grow 2 to 4 inches across. A. rubra (Red Alder) is a handsome tree growing from 40 to 60 feet high. It is covered…

Alexanders
(Smyrnium) Black Loveage, Horse Parsley and Alexanders; these are all common names for this herb. At one time, Alexanders were grown as a major culinary and medicinal plant, but are now hardly seen in today's herb garden. This biennial is large and resembles celery. They grow from 3 to 5 feet high and their dark stems are topped by glossy, 3-part leaves and bunches of white flowers. The leaves, stems, flowers and seed buds may all be eaten.…

Alexandrian Laurel
(Danae) This group consists of one tender, evergreen shrub from Syria, Persia, and Transcaucasia. The leaves of this plant are actually flattened stems and it bears panicles of hermaphrodite flowers in early summer. D. racemosa (Alexandrian Laurel) is a small shrub with arching sprays of slender, glossy green 'leaves'. Its cream flowers are followed by decorative, orange-red fruits if the summer has been hot. The branches of this shrub are great for cutting.…

Algaroba
(Prosopis) These deciduous trees grow wild from the southeastern part of the U.S. to Chile. These trees are commonly known as Mesquite, Algarobe and Cashaw. Mesquites are suitable for growing in hot, dry climates because their taproots grow deeply in search of moisture (as much as 50 to 60 feet deep on mature desert trees) enabling them to withstand drought and high temperatures. P. glandulosa (Honey Mesquite) grows from 15 to 30 feet high depending on the amount of moisture available. These tre…

Alisma
(Water Plantain) This is a group of hardy aquatic plants. The most popular is A. plantago-aquatica, the Water Plantain. This plant grows 2 or 3 feet high and flourishes in shallow water, though it will grow in water up to 18 inches deep. It produces rosettes of long-stalked, rounded to heart-shaped leaves. In June and July, panicles of pinkish-white flowers are borne. Care must be taken in controlling the growth of this plant as it can become a nuisance. The flowers of the Water Plantain may be …

Alligator Pear
(Persea) These small trees are mostly natives of South and Central America, but are also found in the Canary Islands and in southeast Asia. P. Borbonia (the Bull Bay or Red Bay) is a native of the United States from Delaware to Florida and is sometimes planted for ornament. P. palustris is found from North Carolina to Florida and Texas. The species of Persea grown for ornament will grow easily in any type of soil. They have large, leathery leaves, but if grown indoors, their leaves are much thin…

Alligator Weed
(Alternanthera) A. ficoidea is a tender, aquatic perennial and is commonly known as Alligator Weed and Parrot Leaf. This dwarf plant only grows 2 inches high. Its narrowly oval, green leaves have wavy edges and are variegated with red, orange and yellow. Its variety, versicolor, grows a foot high and wide. Its rounded to spoon-shaped leaves are tinged with yellow, red and brown.…

Alligator-Wood
(Liquidambar) Liquidambar is the botanical name for the Sweet Gum trees. L. styraciflua is a native of eastern North America. It can grow up to a height of 100 to 130 feet. The leaves of this tree are arranged alternately on the branches. They are star-shaped with usually five (sometimes seven), pointed lobes, which are finely toothed. When crushed, the leaves emit a pleasant scent. The tops of the leaves are bright green and smooth and the undersides are paler. They grow from 4 to 7 inches long…

Allium
(Chives, Garlic, Leeks, Onion, Ramp, Scallion, Shallot) These hardy bulbs grow wild in many parts of the world. Many of the varieties are commonly known vegetables such as the Chives, Garlic, Leek, Onion, Ramp and Shallot. Many kinds are grown for their pretty clusters of flowers, which come in an array of colors during the spring and summer. Some of the smaller kinds are great for the rock garden and some in the flower border. A. Rosenbachianum is one of the prettiest grown for its flowers. It …

Allspice
(Calycanthus) These hardy, vigorous-growing, deciduous shrubs are found wild in the United States. Commonly known as Allspice or Sweet Shrub, these plants are grown for their fragrant bark and blossoms. C. floridus (Carolina Allspice) is a medium-sized shrub with aromatic, shiny, dark green foliage. Its brownish-red flowers consist of numerous, strap-shaped petals and are produced over a long period in the summer.…

Alluadia
This group of succulents is from Madagascar. Most varieties of Alluadia are shrubby when young, eventually forming a single-trunked tree, branching high above the ground. Some species grow up to 50 feet high. All but one variety produce deciduous leaves, growing from the same nodes every year. Male and female flowers, which are mostly small and white, are produced on separate plants. A. dumosa forms a shrubby plant when young, growing to a height of up to 30 feet at maturity. The leaves of this …

Almond
(Prunus) Prunus is the botanical name for a large group of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. These popular plants are greatly valued for their delicious, edible fruits, gorgeous spring blossoms and some, for their colorful foliage; some varieties are grown for decoration alone, since all do not produce edible fruits. Numerous varieties have been developed from the wild forms; some were bred for maximum fruit production and better quality fruit while others were bred for larger and more a…

Alnus
(Alder) These quick-growing trees are commonly known as Alders. They are natives of Europe, North America and Asia. Alders grow well in moist soil near ponds and other wet ground. Alders are often seen with many trunks; however, they can be trained when young to have only one. A. cordata (Italian Alder) is an attractive tree that grows from 30 to 50 feet high. Its glossy green leaves grow 2 to 4 inches across. A. rubra (Red Alder) is a handsome tree growing from 40 to 60 feet high. It is covered…

Alocasia
(African Mask, Cunjevoi, Elephant's Ear, Spoon Lily) This group consists of seventy, tender plants, which grow from rhizomes in the tropical forests of Borneo, Ceylon, Malaysia and Asia. These plants (commonly known as African Masks and Elephant's Ears) are mainly valued for their gorgeous leaves, which are very large, heart- or spade-shaped and beautifully colored and variegated in gleaming shades of green, purple, bluish-green, red and bronze. They also produce small, calla-like flower s…

Aloe
This popular group consists of about 300 succulent plants, which are found from Arabia to South Africa. These plants may grow in the form of a small, stemless rosette of fleshy leaves to a huge tree 30 feet in height. These plants have many uses; smaller varieties and hybrids make great container plants, while most are excellent for use as landscape plants in warm regions. The leaves of these succulents grow from the center of the plant and can range in length from 10 inches to 2 feet. The thick…

Alonsoa
(Mask Flower) Alonsoas are tender, evergreen perennials that are usually grown as annuals. They can grow 9-24 inches high and have erect, branching growth. Their stems are wiry and they produce small, flat, 2-lipped blooms in the summer and fall. They can be grown outdoors during the summer, but other times they must be kept in a greenhouse having a minimum temperature of 45-50 degrees. They are natives to Peru and other parts of South America.…

Alopecurus
(Golden Foxtail) A. pratensis aureovariegatus, Golden Foxtail, is a tuft forming, ornamental grass that grows 12 inches high and wide. The leaves are flat and linear. They are yellowish-green striped and edged with gold. The flowers are compact, pale green spikes that are borne during the summer.…

Alphitonia
(Pink Almond, White Ash) 20 species of tropical trees there are about six in Australia, mostly native to the coastal rainforests of New South Wales and Queensland.These fast growing trees are popular in tropical gardens.The long ovate leaves with a whitish underside have an attractive silvered new growth. Clusters of tiny white fragrant flowers in the spring and are followed by black berries.…

Alpine Catchfly
(Lychnis) This group of perennials, annuals and biennials are found wild in the North Temperate and Arctic zones. These plants are grown for their pretty flowers. The height ranges from 1 to 4 feet among the different varieties. L. viscaria, the Alpine Catchfly, is an erect growing perennial found on dry, rocky hills and cliffs from Europe to western Asia. The green, oval- to lance-shaped leaves are sticky-hairy beneath. In early summer, a profusion of small, sticky, star-shaped flowers are born…

Alpine Rose
(Rhododendron) This huge group of evergreen and leaf losing trees and shrubs are found wild in Asia, Europe, and North America. Hundreds of wild kinds have been found and numerous hybrids have been developed. These plants vary greatly in growth. Some grow into moderately sized trees and some into little shrubs or bushes that are great for the rock garden. The leaves of some may be as small as Thyme leaves and on the other extreme may be 20 or 24 inches long and 6 to 8 inches wide. Some flowers a…

Alpinia
These tropical plants are tender perennials from India, China and the East Indies and they have thick fragrant rootstocks, resembling the scent of ginger, from which the new shoots sprout in the spring. They can grow up to 10 feet high with a 3-foot spread. Their leaves are lance-shaped with fringed borders and they are produced on reedy stems. The tubular flowers are produced in pendulous clusters. The colors vary among the different kinds. Some are white with yellow lips and have a throat stai…

Alstroemeria
(Lily Of The Incas, Parrot Lily, Peruvian Lily) This group consists of 60 species of perennials, which grow from tuberous roots or rhizomes to a height of 2 to 4 feet. They are natives of tropical America. These perennials (known as Lilies-of-the-Incas, Parrot Lilies, and Peruvian Lilies) produce long stems of handsome foliage, which ramble about, and gorgeous, sometimes variegated, azalea-like flowers from late spring to early or mid-summer. The 2-inch flowers are borne in clusters and come in …

Alternanthera
(Alligator Weed, Parrot Leaf) A. ficoidea is a tender, aquatic perennial and is commonly known as Alligator Weed and Parrot Leaf. This dwarf plant only grows 2 inches high. Its narrowly oval, green leaves have wavy edges and are variegated with red, orange and yellow. Its variety, versicolor, grows a foot high and wide. Its rounded to spoon-shaped leaves are tinged with yellow, red and brown.…

Alyogyne
(Lilac Hibiscus) This hibiscus like shrubs has four species, all native to Australia.…

Alyxia
(Chain Fruit, Native Holly) 80 species, of which nine are native to Australia.They are bushy shrubs or climbers…

Amapallo Amarillo
(Scindapsus) This small group consists of twenty tropical, climbing plants native to Southeast Asia. These plants are valued for their large, attractively variegated leaves, which may be heart-shaped or ovate. These plants, commonly known as Amapallo Amarillo, Devil's Ivy, Hunter's Robe, Ivy Arum, Pothos Ivy, and Taro Vine, also produce arum-like flowers with greenish-colored spathes. These plants are excellent for growing in a hanging basket, training up a moss pole or wall, or for draping over…

Amaranthus
(Amaranth, Chinese Spinach, Hinn Choy, Joseph's-Coat, Love-Lies-Bleeding, Prince's Feather, Prince's-Feather, Tampala, Tassel Flower) These are tender annuals that are natives of India, the Philippines and other warm countries. They are erect-growing plants; their height ranges from 2 to 8 feet high. Their leaves are long or oval, from 2 to 4 inches long and they start out green or dark red and change to bright yellow, orange or florescent pink at the tops. They produce pretty tassels of flowers…

Amaryllis
(Belladonna Lily, Naked Lady Lily) This group consists of one deciduous plant, A. belladonna (Belladonna Lily; Naked Lady Lily), which is native to southern Africa and has been naturalized in some areas of the U.S. This plant grows from a true bulb to 2 or 3 feet high. It produces long, slender leaves in the spring, which die back in early summer. Then, in late summer, 2- to 3-foot, red tinged stalks arise each bearing up to a dozen, aromatic blossoms. The 4- to 6-inch, trumpet-shaped flowers ma…

Amazon Lily
(Eucharis) These tropical, evergreen bulbs are natives of Columbia. They have dark green leaves that are about 6 inches wide. They bloom in spring, summer or autumn; fragrant, white flowers are produced in groups of three to six atop a sturdy stalk that averages 18 inches in height. A minimum winter temperature of 60 degrees is necessary for these lovely plants.…

Amazon Water Lily
(Victoria) This group of tender, aquatic annuals is originally from tropical America. They are amazing, floating plants with some varieties producing leaves that grow up to 8 feet across. They are commonly called Queen Victoria's Water Lily, Royal Water Lily, Amazon Water Lily and Santa Cruz Water Lily. V. amazonica (Amazon Water Lily) has yellowish-green, round leaves with reddish-purple undersides that start out flat, but in time form a rim, 3 to 6 inches high. The underside of the leaves and …

Amelanchier
(Juneberry, Serviceberry, Shad-Blow, Shadbush, Snowy Mespilus) This group consists of beautiful, flowering shrubs and trees mostly native of North America. They are commonly known as Serviceberries, Juneberries, Shadbush, Shad-blow and Snowy Mespilus. Serviceberries are some of the earliest spring-blooming trees. These trees have slender branches and smooth, pale gray bark. They begin to bloom in their first year producing a profusion of short spikes of pure-white, 1-inch flowers. The flowers ar…

American Aloe
(Agave) This large group consists of rosette-forming succulents, which are usually short-stemmed, although some varieties will form stems up to 3 feet high. Agaves are mostly natives of Mexico, though some are found wild in the West Indies and a few in the United States. They may be planted outdoors in mild climates, especially those that are desert and semi-desert; otherwise, they may be grown in a greenhouse and when small, as houseplants. In regions with harsh winters, Agaves may be pla…

American Cress
(Barbarea) This small vegetable is originally from Europe. It's a biennial that loves cool weather. If not watched, it could become a pesky weed. They grow quickly into dandelion like rosettes of dark green, deeply lobed foliage. B. verna, also known as Upland Cress, Early Winter Cress, American Cress, Belle Isle Cress and Scurvy Grass, is used in salads or to add a nippy taste to mixed greens for cooking.…

American Frogbit
(Limnobium) L. spongia, the American Frogbit, is an aquatic perennial found from Lake Ontario to the southern United States. It produces small, glossy green, heart-shaped, floating leaves that have a spongy underside tinged with purple. Its trailing roots also have a purplish tint to them. Unnoticeable white flowers are produced.…

American Spikenard
(Aralia) This group consists of hardy trees, deciduous shrubs, perennials and a few climbers that are natives of North America, Japan, China and Korea. They are mainly grown for their handsome foliage. A. elata (Japanese Angelica Tree) is often seen growing as a large shrub, but sometimes grows to a small tree. The spiny stems are covered with huge, doubly pinnate leaves, which mainly grow at the ends of stems. They usually turn pretty colors in the autumn. In late summer, panicles of white flow…

Amorpha
(False Indigo, Lead Plant) These hardy, deciduous shrubs are natives of North America and Mexico. They have feathery-looking, pinnate leaves and dense spikes of small, pea-like flowers that are ordinarily blue or violet. The flowers are borne at the ends of the shoots in July or August. A. fruticosa (False Indigo) is a medium-sized to large shrub with slender racemes of purplish-blue flowers. A. canescens (Lead Plant) has grayish foliage and purple flowers with yellow stamens.…

Ampelopsis
(Pepper Vine) This group consists of deciduous, climbing, woody plants. These vines are grown for their attractive foliage and ripe fruits. Ampelopsis are mostly natives of North America and eastern Asia. They climb by means of tendrils and are suitable for growing over arbors, covering old trees, large bushes, walls and fences. A. brevipedunculata is a large, vigorous growing vine with three- or occasionally five-lobed, heart-shaped leaves that grow up to 6 inches wide. The small fruits vary in…

Amsonia
These perennials form clumps of oval to narrowly oval, grayish-green or green leaves along the stems. The small, star-shaped flowers of A. orientalis are pale gray-blue and are produced in terminal sprays in the summer. This variety is found from Greece to Turkey. A. tabernaemontana produces starry, pale blue flowers in terminal clusters in the summer. This kind is found on the damp grasslands of eastern North America.…

Amur Cork Tree
(Phellodendron) These deciduous trees, commonly known as Cork Trees, are natives of eastern Asia. They have short trunks and wide spreading crowns. P. amurense (Amur Cork Tree) grows 30 to 40 feet high. It has deeply ridged, corky bark and dark green, compound leaves growing 9 to 15 inches long and consisting of 5 to 13 leaflets. Its foliage turns yellow in the fall. Small, inconspicuous, greenish-yellow male and female flowers are produced on separate trees. Clusters of black berries follow the…

Anacampseros
These succulent plants are originally from South Africa. They form rosettes of smooth or hairy, fleshy leaves, which may be lance-shaped or almost round. These small plants can reach a height of up to 6 inches when mature. The flat, wheel-shaped flowers grow intermittently throughout the year, but mostly in the summer. They open in the afternoon and close in early evening. They range in color from white to pale purple. The blossoms are self-fertile; producing seeds in a cup of erect filaments th…

Anacharis
(Egeria) E. densa, commonly known as Anacharis and Water Weed, is an aquatic perennial native to the warm and temperate regions of South America. It is now naturalized in Central and North America, Europe and Australia. Anacharis is a vigorous growing plant that has many branching stems that are clothed in whorls of sessile, linear leaves. The leaves have pointy tips that ordinarily bend backward and grow an inch in length. In warm water, 73º F and higher, the stems become spindly. Tiny, white …

Ananas
(Pineapple) This group consists of 9 species of tropical, terrestrial bromeliads (plants belonging to the family, Bromeliaceae) native to tropical America. These plants are commonly known as Pineapples. They grow up to 4 feet high and produce rosettes of long, stiff, spiny leaves. Pineapples produce a thick, leafless stem topped by a thistle-like, violet or red flower after about 16 months and when the plant is at least 2 feet high. This flower develops into the delicious, juicy fru…

Anaphalis
Anaphalis, Pearly Everlasting, is a group of pretty perennials that produce flowers that may be dried. A. margaritacea is a bushy, clump-forming plant with thin, lance-shaped, silver or gray-green leaves edged with white. It grows from 24 to 30 inches high and 24 inches wide. The tiny, white flowers have papery petals and they grow in clustered heads atop erect stems, in late summer. This plant is found on dry, rocky soil of North America, northeast Asia, and north and central Europe. A. triplin…

Anchusa
(Blue Alkanet, Bugloss) These are hardy perennial and annual plants. Their height ranges from 11/2 to 5 feet. They produce clusters of flowers that come in white and many different shades of blue in the spring and early summer. They are found wild mainly in European countries and Africa. Bees are greatly attracted to the flowers.…

Andromeda
(Bog Rosemary) These hardy, evergreen shrubs are found wild in peat bogs in the Northern and Arctic regions. A. polifolia (Bog Rosemary) is a small, attractive shrub that grows up to a foot high, rarely larger. Its slender stems are covered with narrow, glaucous-green leaves that are smooth and white underneath. In late spring and early summer, terminal clusters of drooping, pink, bell-shaped flowers are produced.…

Androsace
(Rock Jasmine) These are Alpine plants found in the high mountains of Europe, Asia and North America. They bloom in early spring. They belong to the Primrose family. Each kind is described below in the varieties section.…

Anemone
(Pasque Flower, Windflower) This group consists of 120 species of perennials, which grow from tubers. These pretty perennials (commonly known as Windflowers) belong to the Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. They grow wild in many European countries, in North America, and Japan. The attractive, parsley-like leaves of these plants are lobed or divided and the ornate parts of their poppy- or daisy-like flowers are actually sepals; Anemones have no true petals or else they are greatly reduced. The sin…

Anemonopsis
This perennial, also known as the False Anemone because of its close resemblance to those plants. (See Anemone.)This plant forms clumps of finely divided, shiny, dark green leaflets, looking somewhat like a fern. The pale mauve or lilac, drooping flowers are cup shaped and are produced in loose clusters atop wiry stems in late summer. This plant grows from 18 to 24 inches high with a 20-inch spread. It is a native of Japan.…

Anethum
(Dill) Anethum graveolens is the botanical name for the well-known herb, Dill. This half hardy, cool weather annual is a native to southwest Asia, but is now widely naturalized in North America. Dill blooms and sets seeds when nights are short and days are warm. The delicate, feathery plants are blue green and grow from 3 to 5 feet tall. They are topped with little bunches of lacy yellow flowers on stiff, hollow stems.…

Angel'S Tears
(Narcissi) This is a large group of mostly hardy bulbs. Narcissus will bloom outside in March and April and in greenhouses from December to March. There are many species or wild types and innumerable named varieties, which increase every year. Most of the species or wild types are natives of southern Europe. The name Daffodil is commonly given to the Narcissus with large trumpets, but may be used for all types. The name Jonquil most properly belongs to the rush-leaved Narcissus jonquilla and its…

Angel'S Trumpet
(Datura) These annual and tender, shrubby, perennial flowering plants are natives of tropical America, Europe and Mexico. The most familiar kind is Datura (Brugmansia) arborea, which produces large, white, fragrant blooms in the summer; it is a great plant for tubs. The perennial shrubby kinds can grow up to 10 feet tall, have woody stems, large ovate leaves and produce yellow, red, pink or white trumpet-shaped flowers in the summer. The annual kinds can grow about 3 feet tall, have large, ovate…