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


Ballota
This group consists of perennials and deciduous subshrubs that are found in the Mediterranean region and western Asia. These plants grow 2 to 3 feet high. B. pseudodictamnus forms clumps of succulent greenish-white stems that are clothed with evergreen, oval, grayish-green leaves. The entire plant is covered with a thick, grayish-white down. It grows 24 inches high and spreads about 3 feet. Its white or pale pink flowers are small, tubular and 2-lipped. They are produced within interesting pale …

Balm
(Melissa) M. officinalis, Balm or Lemon Balm, is a half hardy perennial that originates from the Mediterranean region and Asia and has become naturalized in the moist, lightly shaded meadows of North America. When mowed, it penetrates the air with the scent of lemons. Lemon Balm grows in clumps 2 to 22 feet high. The soft shoots are covered with wide, toothed, dark green leaves, which are used in meat sauces, fruit dishes and drinks.…

Balm-Of-Gilead
(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…

Balsam Apple
(Momordica) Momordica belongs to the cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae. M. charantia, Balsam Pear, Bitter Cucumber, La-Kwa, or Bitter Melon, is a tender, tropical perennial grown as an annual. They are luscious, high-climbing vines with slightly fuzzy stems clothed with dark green, deeply lobed leaves and yellow, dioecious (male & female organs on separate flowers) flowers. The blossoms have 5 petals and are an inch in diameter. In regions with a long growing season, these vines produce handsom…

Balsam Pear
(Momordica) Momordica belongs to the cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae. M. charantia, Balsam Pear, Bitter Cucumber, La-Kwa, or Bitter Melon, is a tender, tropical perennial grown as an annual. They are luscious, high-climbing vines with slightly fuzzy stems clothed with dark green, deeply lobed leaves and yellow, dioecious (male & female organs on separate flowers) flowers. The blossoms have 5 petals and are an inch in diameter. In regions with a long growing season, these vines produce handsom…

Bamboo
(Chusquea) This is a group of evergreen Bamboos mainly from South America.C. culeou is a shrubby plant that forms wide, dense clumps. The dark olive green canes ordinarily grow from 8 to 11 feet high, but sometimes reach a height of 28 feet. These canes produce bunches of short, thin, leafy branches along their length. The new canes have noticeable white sheaths at each node. The leaves are 1 to 3 inches long and 1/4- to 1/2-inch wide tapering to a point. Because the canes aren't hollow, as most…

Bamboo Palm
(Chamaedorea) These palms are found from Mexico to South America. They can be grown in doors as houseplants or hothouse if they have a minimum winter temperature of 60 degrees. In parts of California and Florida that are free of frost, they can be grown outside in a shaded area. These Palms have thin stems and large, elegant leaves. C. graminifolia is very pretty and is suitable for cultivating in pots. C. Pringlei is a dwarf Palm that is great for pots and foreground planting outdoors in frost-…

Banana
(Musa) These are treelike, herbaceous plants that live in warm countries and are suitable for outdoor cultivation in the United States only in the warmer parts of Florida and other frost-free climates. They may be grown a bit further in the north if fruit is not the aim. They can be grown in hothouses in colder areas, or outside during the summer months for the tropical beauty of their large, paddle-shaped leaves. The 'stems' of these plants are made of overlapping leaf sheaths that die af…

Banana Lily
(Nymphoides) These hardy and tender, aquatic perennials are originally from Asia, Europe, North America and the tropics. N. aquatica, commonly known as Banana Lily, is hardy only in warm climates. Its floating leaves are 4 inches long and have rough undersides. It produces white flowers. N. cristatum, the Variegated Water Snowflake, has round, floating leaves edged with red. It produces a profusion of white flowers. This plant will need to be kept under control. N. geminata, Yellow Fringe, has g…

Banksia
(Australian Honeysuckle) These are tender, evergreen shrubs and small trees native to Australia. They are grown for their ornamental foliage. The leaves are green on top and silvery-white underneath. B. grandis has large, divided leaves; B. integrifolia has oblong to lanceolate leaves and B. ericifolia has very narrow leaves. These plants can be grown outdoors in mild climates such as southern California's or in greenhouses.…

Banyan Tree
(Ficus) House Plants - There are a wide variety of Ficus plants. There are evergreen or leaf losing trees, shrubs and climbing plants. Some are large trees found wild in tropical forests, and several are good for outdoor cultivation in southern Florida and southern California. A milky sap (latex), which soon coagulates, seeps from different kinds of Ficus when injured. At one time, the latex of one or two kinds had a market value as rubber. Ficus is the Latin name for the Fig tree, which …

Baptisia
These erect growing perennials are found wild usually on damp ground, by streambanks, in the eastern U.S. These plants are commonly known as False Indigo and they are grown for their attractive flowers and foliage. They grow 2 feet or more high with a spread of 2 feet. False Indigo forms clumps of bright blue green leaves, which are divided into 3 oval leaflets and borne on gray-green stems. The small flowers are pea-like, growing in upright, open spikes in early or mid-summer. They may be color…

Barbarea
(American Cress, Belle Isle Cress, Early Winter Cress, Scurvy Grass, Upland Cress) 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.…

Barbary Fig
(Opuntia) Opuntia is the largest group of Cacti with over 360 species ranging from Canada to Chile and Argentina. This group also includes several edible kinds. These plants are commonly known as Bunny Ears, Cholla, Prickly Pear, Barbary Fig, Tuna and Indian Fig. Opuntia is usually separated into two groups. The first group is Platyopuntia; those belonging to this group have round flattened joints, called pads. They are commonly known as Prickly Pears because they produce the spiny, usually edib…

Barberry
(Berberis) Berberis is a large group of hardy and tender, evergreen and deciduous, ornamental shrubs commonly known as Barberries. They grow wild in the Old and New Worlds and are especially concentrated in China. Some Barberries are grown for their pretty, fragrant, button-like blossoms, which range in color from light yellow to orange; some, especially the deciduous types, for the colors of their foliage, particularly in autumn; and some for their attractive clusters of red or bluish-black ber…

Barberton Daisy
(Gerbera) These herbaceous plants are found in South Africa. The fuzzy leaves grow in a rosette close to the soil and are lance-shaped, deeply lobed and about 12 inches long. During the summer, these plants bear many orange-scarlet flowers that resemble daisies atop a long stalk. There are many hybrids that come in white, cream, yellow, orange-pink, crimson, purple or violet. These plants are usually grown in greenhouses and are used for cut flowers, but in mild climates, they can be cultivated …

Barrel Cactus
(Echinopsis) This large group of beautiful cacti is native to the southern part of South America. These species range from very small and globular to tall, columnar plants reaching a height of up to 30 feet. They come in a wide variety of sizes and colors as well as produce large, gorgeous blossoms in an array of colors. Many of these cacti can survive near-freezing temperatures and neglect. They are excellent for growing in containers in greenhouses, homes and outdoors and as landscape plants. …

Bartonia
(Mentzelia) This is a small group of erect growing annuals and biennials that come from North and South America. Their foliage is waxy, cut or toothed and 2 to 3 inches in length. The pretty, fragrant flowers grow up to 5 inches across and can resemble those of the daisy, cactus or passiflora. They are a creamy white to a greenish yellow color; some open at night.…

Basella
(Indian Spinach, Malabar Nightshade, Malabar Spinach, Pasali, Pu-Tin-Choi) B. alba is known by many common names. These are Malabar Spinach, Indian Spinach, Malabar Nightshade, Pasali and Pu-tin-choi. Malabar Spinach is one of the best hot-weather greens for cooking. This plant is a regular food item in tropical Africa and southeast Asia, where it originated. Its glutinous texture when cooked takes some getting use to, but the strong flavor is pleasant. These plants are low growing and send out …

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

Bauhinia
(Buddhist Bauhinia, Butterfly Flower, Jerusalem Date, Mountain Ebony, Orchid Tree, St. Thomas-Tree, St.-Thomas-Tree) These beautiful, tender trees and shrubs are natives of India, Malaya, China and tropical Africa. These plants are popular in warm regions for their gorgeous, Orchid-like blossoms. The flowers are 2 to 3 inches across, may be white, pink or purple, and are borne in the winter and early spring; they are followed by 6- to 8-inch, flat, brown seedpods. The young foliage and blossoms …

Baumea
(Variegated Rush) This aquatic perennial is a native of Australia. It produces cylindrical, flat, green leaves variegated with a darker green and yellow. This plant can grow 1 or 2 feet high.…

Bay Laurel
(Laurus) This slow growing, evergreen tree is often grown as a shrub; it is commonly called Bay, Bay Laurel, and Sweet Laurel. Bay can live as a woody houseplant for many years. It is a native of the Mediterranean region and isn't hardy in the North. Its shiny, dark green, fragrant leaves were once twined into wreaths by the ancient Romans and Greeks and were used to crown the champions in their sports and wars. This tree may grow 30 feet or more high, where temperatures stay above 20 degrees in…

Bay Tree
(Laurus) This slow growing, evergreen tree is often grown as a shrub; it is commonly called Bay, Bay Laurel, and Sweet Laurel. Bay can live as a woody houseplant for many years. It is a native of the Mediterranean region and isn't hardy in the North. Its shiny, dark green, fragrant leaves were once twined into wreaths by the ancient Romans and Greeks and were used to crown the champions in their sports and wars. This tree may grow 30 feet or more high, where temperatures stay above 20 degrees in…

Bayberry
(Myrica) This group consists of fifty deciduous or evergreen, shrubs and trees that grow throughout the Northern Hemisphere, some of which are natives of North America. These aromatic plants range in height from five to sixty feet. They have simple, shiny, dark green leaves and unnoticeable flowers, which are followed by sometimes edible, waxy, gray or purple fruits. M. gale (Sweet Gale) is a small, compact, deciduous shrub. In mid- to late spring, golden brown male and female catkins are produc…

Bead Tree
(Melia) These tender, deciduous trees are natives of Asia and Australia and are grown for their pretty foliage and flowers. M. azedarach, the most popular kind, has several common names including Chinaberry, Bead Tree, Indian Lilac and Pride of India. This quick-growing tree reaches an ultimate height ranging from 35 to 50 feet. The Chinaberry has thick, feathery, dark green leaves. They grow up to 3 feet long and 1 foot wide and contain numerous 1- to 3-inch leaflets. In the spring, 5- to 8-inc…

Bearberry
(Arctostaphylos) These evergreen shrubs or small trees are natives to western North America, northern Europe and Mexico. A. uva-ursi (Bearberry or Kinnikinick) is a creeping, alpine shrub that is suitable for planting in rock gardens or along banks or sandy slopes. The green foliage of this attractive plant turns bronze in autumn, but becomes green again in the spring. In early to mid-summer, clusters of nodding, white flowers tinged with pink are produced. The flowers are followed by red, berry…

Beardtongue
(Penstemon) These are hardy and tender perennials from North America. They form clumps, 2 to 3 feet tall and produce mostly basal leaves, 2 to 3 inches long. Their flowers grow in loose spikes resembling a snapdragon. They are pouched and up to 2 inches across. They come in most colors and often have a contrasting throat and veins. Picking off the dead flowers will increase the blooms. These plants will behave as perennials in mild climates. Otherwise, they are propagated annually by seeds or cu…

Beaucarnea
(Pony Tail) This is a tender, evergreen plant grown for its ornamental leaves. It grows wild in Mexico. Its leaves are long and slender and resemble those of the Dracaena. The main kind, B. recurvata, variety glauca, has blue-gray leaves.…

Beaufortia
These are evergreen shrubs that are found in Australia. They are clothed with small, stiff leaves like those of Heather. Their flowers are small, red or purple and are produced in clusters in the summertime. They may be grown outside in mild climates such as California's, or in greenhouses.…

Beaumontia
This is a gorgeous climbing plant that is a native of India. It has a woody stem that's covered with green, leathery leaves. It produces large, white, trumpet-shaped flowers in the spring. This plant grows unrestrained, so a large conservatory or greenhouse is necessary for its cultivation; pots are inadequate.…

Beaver'S Tails
(Opuntia) Opuntia is the largest group of Cacti with over 360 species ranging from Canada to Chile and Argentina. This group also includes several edible kinds. These plants are commonly known as Bunny Ears, Cholla, Prickly Pear, Barbary Fig, Tuna and Indian Fig. Opuntia is usually separated into two groups. The first group is Platyopuntia; those belonging to this group have round flattened joints, called pads. They are commonly known as Prickly Pears because they produce the spiny, usually edib…

Bedstraw
(Galium) This group of plants is includes hardy and tender herbaceous perennials, which are natives of Europe and most of which have been naturalized in North America. The name is derived from gala, milk, and refers to the fact that G. verum has been used to curdle milk. G. odoratum, Sweet Woodruff, is a hardy perennial, which grows 12 to18 inches high. This plant gives off an aroma resembling freshly mown hay and May wine. Sweet Woodruff makes a lovely ground cover. Its rough-edged leave…

Bee Balm
(Monarda) These are erect clumps of annual and perennial herbaceous plants that grow wild in North America. These plants can grow up to 3 feet high and are usually sold for the beauty of their striking blossoms. M. pectinata (the Lemon Mint) has thin leaves that are lanceolate to oblong and have the scent of lemons. It bears whorls of flowers that are up to 2 inches across and may be white to pink and purplish. The most popular kind is M. didyma (Oswego Tea, Bee Balm, or Bergamot), which has spi…

Beech Fern
(Dryopteris) This is a large group of ferns, which are all pretty easy to cultivate, whether they are hardy or tender. D. Filix-mas (the Male fern) has fronds up to 2 feet long and a foot wide. They are great for placing in open woodland or for shady spots. D. erythrosora, a native of Japan, grows fronds up to 18 inches long. It makes a very lovely houseplant. D. Linnaeana (the Oak Fern) has broad fronds, 6 to 10 inches long.…

Beech Tree
(Fagus) This group consists of deciduous trees commonly known as the Beech. These trees grow to a rather large size, from 60 to 75 feet high and sometimes up to 100 feet or more. Beeches are hardy throughout the U.S. Their seeds are rich in oil, which is sometimes extracted for edible purposes and for burning. Under the name of mast, the seeds are also used to feed pigs. In Europe, pigs are sometimes let loose into Beech woods to feed when the seeds are falling. Beech trees have shallow roots an…

Beet
(Beta) B. vulgaris is the botanical name for two varieties of vegetables. The Beet and Swiss Chard, also known as Leaf Beet or Spinach Beet. Both of these biennials are grown as annuals. The Beet belongs to a group of plants, which were selected from an ancient European species. This group includes Sugar Beets, grown for sugar extraction and mangel-wurzels, grown for livestock feed. Garden Beets are mainly grown for their edible, swollen roots, which come in a wide range of shapes and colors inc…

Begonia
Begonias are found wild in South and Central America and many are native to India and other tropical countries. Begonias are grouped into seven classifications: Cane-stemmed - frost tender, grown mainly for their pretty, heart-shaped leaves; Rex-cultorum - grown for their decorative foliage. Needs a 70- to 75-degree temperature; Rhizomatous - grown for their attractive leaves and/or blossoms. Needs around a 66-degree temp. and water from below; Semperflorens - grown f…

Belamcanda
This group, commonly known as Blackberry Lilies and Leopard Lilies, consists of two species of hardy, tuberous-rooted perennials, which are natives of Japan and China. Blackberry Lilies, which belong to the Iris family, Iridaceae, produce short, flat fans of broad, Iris-like leaves. In the summer, 2- to 3-foot, branching stems bear 2-inch-wide, crimson-speckled, orange flowers. The blossoms last a long time over the summer season. Once the flowers have faded, the capsules expand and event…

Bell Pepper
(Capsicum) These are tender annuals or perennials from South America. They have straight, woody stems and single, star-shaped, white flowers in the axils of the leaves. The flowers are followed by juiceless berries or pods, which vary in shape and size. They are green at first and change to red, yellow or purple. They contain many flat, kidney-shaped, white seeds, which are very hot tasting. Kinds that are commonly grown are varieties of C. frutescens, which are the Peppers grown in the vegetabl…

Belladonna Lily
(Amaryllis) 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 may be white, red, rosy r…

Belle Isle 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.…

Bellflower
(Campanula) This is a group of annual, biennial and perennial plants, which are found naturally in many countries of the Northern Hemisphere. Campanulas, commonly called Bellflowers, vary in size and habit of growth. Some Bellflowers are suitable for the rock garden, some for flower borders, and some for wild or woodland gardens. Some can be grown in containers in the greenhouse or window garden. The following three are perennials. C. lactiflora 'Prichard's Variety' (Milky Bellflower) is a prett…

Beloperone
(Chuperosa, Shrimp Plant) These shrubs are natives of Brazil and Mexico. B. guttata, the Shrimp Plant, grows 2-3 feet tall and has dark green leaves and spikes of white flowers, which are shaped like long tubes that open out into two lips at the top. The flowers are surrounded by brownish-rose or yellow bracts that give them the appearance of boiled shrimp. This plant is popular for window gardens, it can be grown in greenhouses and in tropical climates, outdoors. B. oblongata grows up to 3 feet…

Benincasa
(Chinese Preserving Melon, Wax Gourd, White Gourd) The Chinese Preserving Melon is a frost-tender annual that is a native of southeast Asia. It spreads widely and produces yellow flowers. The leaves are 6 to 10 inches across and foul smelling. The fruits may are cylindrical to oblong and grow up to 16 inches long. The rind is waxy-white and covered with fine, silky fuzz. Other popular names include Wax Gourd and White Gourd. This melon is used in China for making sweet preserves, but is usually …

Berberidopsis
(Coral Plant) This group consists of one, evergreen shrub that is native to Chile. B. corallina (Coral Plant) is a beautiful, medium-sized plant with climbing stems. The leathery, green leaves are edged with spiny teeth. In late summer, dark crimson flowers are produced singly on thin stalks or in pendant clusters.…

Berberis
(Barberry) Berberis is a large group of hardy and tender, evergreen and deciduous, ornamental shrubs commonly known as Barberries. They grow wild in the Old and New Worlds and are especially concentrated in China. Some Barberries are grown for their pretty, fragrant, button-like blossoms, which range in color from light yellow to orange; some, especially the deciduous types, for the colors of their foliage, particularly in autumn; and some for their attractive clusters of red or bluish-black ber…

Bergamot
(Monarda) These are erect clumps of annual and perennial herbaceous plants that grow wild in North America. These plants can grow up to 3 feet high and are usually sold for the beauty of their striking blossoms. M. pectinata (the Lemon Mint) has thin leaves that are lanceolate to oblong and have the scent of lemons. It bears whorls of flowers that are up to 2 inches across and may be white to pink and purplish. The most popular kind is M. didyma (Oswego Tea, Bee Balm, or Bergamot), which has spi…

Bergenia
Bergenia is a small group of hardy perennials growing wild from Afghanistan to southeast Tibet and the Himalayas. These plants form clumps of large, evergreen leaves, which have a leathery texture, and clusters of small flowers. They grow from 1 to 2 feet high and spread 20 to 24 inches. They are good ground cover plants. B. ciliata has heart-shaped leaves that are fringed with bristles. They are dark green turning red in the fall. The small flowers are cup-shaped and are borne in thick bunches …

Berkheya
This upright perennial is found in the damp, rocky grasslands in the Drakensberg Mountains, Natal. It is scantily branched and covered with slender, deeply and irregularly lobed, spiny, dark green leaves. The flowers resemble Daisies and they have a spiny calyx beneath; they are bright yellow centered with orange-yellow. They grow on branching, spiny-leaved stems throughout the summer. This plant grows up to 3 feet high and wide.…

Bermuda Buttercup
(Oxalis) These are hardy and tender plants that are mostly found wild in south Africa and tropical and subtropical America, but can be found in many parts of the world, including North America. Several hardy kinds are gorgeous for the rock garden, a few are showy enough for flower borders and many are great for windows and greenhouses. Oxalis montana (the American Wood Sorrel) is a lovely plant that has green 'Shamrock' leaves and white flowers veined with lilac. Since it's a woodland plant, it …

Bertolonia
These plants are native to Brazil. They are grown for their ornamental leaves. These plants are grown in a hot house or greenhouse having a minimum winter temperature of 60 degrees. The color of the foliage varies with the different types. The leaves may be shimmery white and purple, pink and purple, green and carmine or coppery-colored. There are also many garden hybrids that have variegated leaves. These plants bear small, pink flowers.…

Beschorneria
This group consists of about 10 shrubs and perennials that are natives of Mexico. The most popular kind is B. yuccoides. This tender plant is an evergreen perennial with semi-woody stems that can be grown in tropical climates only. B. yuccoides produces rosettes of succulent, lance-shaped leaves that have rough edges. There are about 20 leaves to a bunch. In mid- or late summer, reddish-colored flower stems rise out of the foliage. These stems may reach a height of about 6½ feet. The bear penden…

Bessera
This is a half-hardy bulb that is found wild in Mexico. It has long, slender leaves and it produces scarlet flowers on 8-inch high stems in the summer.…

Beta
(Beet, Chard, Leaf Beet, Spinach Beet) B. vulgaris is the botanical name for two varieties of vegetables. The Beet and Swiss Chard, also known as Leaf Beet or Spinach Beet. Both of these biennials are grown as annuals. The Beet belongs to a group of plants, which were selected from an ancient European species. This group includes Sugar Beets, grown for sugar extraction and mangel-wurzels, grown for livestock feed. Garden Beets are mainly grown for their edible, swollen roots, which come in a wid…

Betel Palm
(Areca) These feathery leaved Palms are native to Madagascar and other tropical regions. They are great as potted plants when they are young. They need a minimum temperature of 60 degrees. They can live outside in southern Florida and other subtropical and tropical regions. A. Cathecu, the Betel Palm, produces the well-known Betel Nut of commerce, which is in great demand in Eastern countries for chewing. It is slender and can grow up to 100 feet tall. A glandiformis is also tall and slender. A …

Betony
(Stachys) This group consists of about 300 species of mostly hardy perennials, which belong to the Mint family, Labiatae. These plants are widely distributed throughout Europe and other north temperate regions and several are found wild in North America.Some are valued for their attractive foliage, while others are appreciated for their spikes of pretty flowers. Their common names include: Betony, Bunnies' Ears, Hedge Nettle, Lamb's Ears, Lamb's tongue, and Woundwort. One, S. Sieboldii (C…

Betula
(Birch) Betula is the botanical name for a group of deciduous (leaf-losing) trees and shrubs, commonly known as the Birches. They are natives of Europe, Asia and North America. Birches are very attractive, with their white or beautifully colored bark, which peels off in thin, papery fragments. Birch trees have simple (whole - not divided into separate pieces) leaves arranged alternately on the branch, with toothed and sometimes lobed edges. The leaves usually grow in pairs on short spur-like gro…

Bidens
(Bur Marigold) This group consists of hardy perennials and annuals, commonly called Bur Marigolds. These plants belong to the Daisy family, Compositae, and are found wild in southern U.S., Mexico and Guatemala. They grow from 1 to 3 feet high, with a 12 inch or so spread. B. ferulifolia is a perennial that forms clumps of divided, fern-like, green leaves. The starry, golden yellow flowers are 11/2 inches across. They are produced abundantly from mid-spring to the first frost.…

Bignonia
(Crossvine, Trumpet Flower) This group consists of one evergreen or semi-evergreen, climbing plant. B. capreolata, commonly known as the Crossvine or Trumpet Flower, is a beautiful plant found wild from Virginia to Illinois to Florida and Louisiana. This vigorous growing vine climbs by means of twining leaf tendrils, which are tipped with small cups that allow them to climb masonry walls. The Crossvine is suitable for growing over fences, up trellises and trees. Each leaf consists of two slender…

Billardiera
This group consists of about eight, tender, low-growing, climbing plants that are natives to Tasmania and Australia. B. longiflora is a pretty plant that grows up to 6 feet high. The slender stems are clothed with lance-shaped, evergreen leaves. Greenish-yellow, bell-shaped flowers are produced singly, in the summer and autumn. These pendent blossoms are followed by dark blue, oblong fruits that are up to an inch long.…

Billbergia
These are evergreen plants mainly from Brazil. They have long, stiff leaves that resemble those of the Pineapple. They rise directly from the ground in a rosette. The flowers are in spikes and they grow from the centers of the rosettes in the winter and spring. Most kinds have conspicuous, brilliantly colored bracts under each flower, which is the main attraction to this plant. The different colored bracts are described below in varieties.…

Bilsted
(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…

Birch
(Betula) Betula is the botanical name for a group of deciduous (leaf-losing) trees and shrubs, commonly known as the Birches. They are natives of Europe, Asia and North America. Birches are very attractive, with their white or beautifully colored bark, which peels off in thin, papery fragments. Birch trees have simple (whole - not divided into separate pieces) leaves arranged alternately on the branch, with toothed and sometimes lobed edges. The leaves usually grow in pairs on short spur-like gr…

Bird-Of-Paradise
(Strelitzia) This group consists of four, tender perennials originally from South Africa. The most commonly grown is S. reginae, commonly known as the Bird-of-Paradise, Crane Flower or Crane Lily. This plant forms clumps of long-stalked leaves up to 3 feet long. The evergreen, bluish- or gray-green leaves have an oblong shape and leathery texture. The beautiful flowers are produced atop long stalks, mainly in the spring. The orange and blue or purple flowers are enclosed in a green, boat-shaped …

Bird'S-Foot Trefoil
(Lotus) These are pretty ornamental plants, one of which is used as a vegetable. These tender and hardy perennials belong to the Pea family, Leguminosae. Some are found growing wild in the Canary Isles, Cape Verde Islands, the Mediterranean region, other parts of Europe and Asia, and some in North America.…

Bird'S-Nest Fern
(Asplenium) These Ferns are natives of North America, Africa, India and other countries. With long, broad, bright green leaves that can grow up to 18 inches high, this plant doesn't really look like the typical fern. The tougher plants come from North America and they are good for growing outdoors in gardens as long as they have well-drained soil. A. platyneuron (Ebony Spleenwort), A. viride (Green Spleenwort), A. Bradleyi and A. Trichomanes (Maidenhair Spleenwort) are all hardy Aspleniums. They…

Bishop'S Cap
(Astrophytum) This popular group of cacti consists of only four wild species and maybe a dozen hybrids. These natives to Mexico are suitable for growing in greenhouses, windowsills and outdoors where climates permit. Most of these cacti form short, spherical plants that may or may not have spines. They are usually flecked with small, white scales. In spring to late summer, numerous, large, daisy-like, yellow flowers grow at the plant's crown. Each long-lasting flower opens completely in bright l…

Bishop'S Miter
(Astrophytum) This popular group of cacti consists of only four wild species and maybe a dozen hybrids. These natives to Mexico are suitable for growing in greenhouses, windowsills and outdoors where climates permit. Most of these cacti form short, spherical plants that may or may not have spines. They are usually flecked with small, white scales. In spring to late summer, numerous, large, daisy-like, yellow flowers grow at the plant's crown. Each long-lasting flower opens completely in bright l…

Bishop'S Weed
(Aegopodium) 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 planting, for it isn't as aggres…

Bitter Cress
(Cardamine) Cardamines are hardy annuals or perennials with the common names of Bitter Cress, Cuckoo Plant and Lady's Smock. They are found wild in the mountain woodlands of west and central Europe. These plants grow from 6 to 24 inches high. C. pentaphyllos is an upright plant with dark green leaves, which are divided into 3 to 5 smooth leaflets. Its small, white or pale purple flowers are funnel-shaped and borne in little bunches above the leaves, in the spring.…

Bitter Cucumber
(Momordica) Momordica belongs to the cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae. M. charantia, Balsam Pear, Bitter Cucumber, La-Kwa, or Bitter Melon, is a tender, tropical perennial grown as an annual. They are luscious, high-climbing vines with slightly fuzzy stems clothed with dark green, deeply lobed leaves and yellow, dioecious (male & female organs on separate flowers) flowers. The blossoms have 5 petals and are an inch in diameter. In regions with a long growing season, these vines produce handsom…

Bitter Melon
(Momordica) Momordica belongs to the cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae. M. charantia, Balsam Pear, Bitter Cucumber, La-Kwa, or Bitter Melon, is a tender, tropical perennial grown as an annual. They are luscious, high-climbing vines with slightly fuzzy stems clothed with dark green, deeply lobed leaves and yellow, dioecious (male & female organs on separate flowers) flowers. The blossoms have 5 petals and are an inch in diameter. In regions with a long growing season, these vines produce handsom…

Bittersweet
(Celastrus) This group consists of about thirty hardy, deciduous, climbing shrubs from North America, Asia and other countries. Bittersweets, as they are commonly known, are grown mainly for their seed pods and beautiful autumn colors. They are suitable for covering arbors or other tall supports. Flowers of only one sex grow on each plant, therefore it is necessary to grow plants of both sexes in order for the female to produce the ornamental seed capsules. C. orbiculatus (Oriental Bittersweet) …

Black Calla
(Arum) These are hardy and tender plants that grow wild in Europe and Asia. They shouldn't be confused with the Arum Lily (Zantedeschia) or the Water Arum (Calla palustris). These plants are more interesting than pretty. A. italicum grows to 2 feet and has spear-shaped leaves and yellowish-green flower spathes. A. palaestinum grows 18 inches high and produces black-purple spathes. This plant is tender and should be grown in pots in a frost proof greenhouse in the North.…

Black Cumin
(Nigella) These annuals are found wild in southern Europe, northern Africa and Asia Minor. They are bushy, self-branching plants that may grow upright or sprawling, 1½ to 2 feet. Their foliage is finely divided, resembling dill and fennel, and grows up to 3 inches long. The beautiful flowers are finely laced and up to 2 inches across. They may be white or pale to dark blue. Picking off the dead flowers will increase blooming, but prevents the seed capsules, which are valued for drying. N. sativa…

Black Cypress Pine
(Callitris) These are evergreen trees, native to Australia and Tasmania. Their branches are divided greatly and they have small leaves resembling scales. They can be planted outdoors in warm climates such as in Florida and southern California. In some ways, they are similar to the Cypress or Cupressus.…

Black Lovage
(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.…

Black Oyster Plant
(Scorzonera) Black Salsify, also known as Viper's Grass and Black Oyster Plant, is a hardy perennial, which belongs to the Daisy family, Compositae. They grow wild in southern and eastern Europe and in northern Africa. They are grown for their edible taproots, which are long, thin and black. These plants grow 2 to 3 feet high and have long, slender leaves, sometimes lobed. In their second season, they will produce yellow flowers that are 2 inches wide and resemble daisies.…

Black Salsify
(Scorzonera) Black Salsify, also known as Viper's Grass and Black Oyster Plant, is a hardy perennial, which belongs to the Daisy family, Compositae. They grow wild in southern and eastern Europe and in northern Africa. They are grown for their edible taproots, which are long, thin and black. These plants grow 2 to 3 feet high and have long, slender leaves, sometimes lobed. In their second season, they will produce yellow flowers that are 2 inches wide and resemble daisies.…

Black Stem Maidenhair Fern
(Adiantum) 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 clumping in cool, shady spots in the wild garden and rock garden. A. Capillus-Veneris is another fern that's h…

Black-Eyed Susan
(Rudbeckia) This group of hardy, herbaceous perennials and annuals come from North America and belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. They form neat clusters, 1 to 3 feet high. The oval to elliptic shaped leaves are mostly basal and grow 3 to 6 inches long. The single or double flowers are 2 to 6 inches across and are colored yellow and sometimes brightly bicolored reddish-brown. Pulling off the dead flowers will increase the blooms. Rudbeckias are commonly known as the Black- or Brown-eyed Sus…

Black-Eyed Susan Vine
(Thunbergia) These tender vines are natives of tropical Africa, South Africa, tropical Asia and India. These plants are usually treated as annuals, though they will behave as perennials in mild climates. They will grow 3 to 15 feet long. The ovate to triangular leaves grow up to 4 inches long and they produce flowers that may grow solitary or in clusters. They look like flaring tubes, 1 to 2 inches across. They may be orange, yellow, or white, with or without a brownish-purple eye.…

Bladderwort
(Utricularia) These hardy and tender, aquatic and terrestrial perennials are commonly called Bladderworts. The aquatic kinds are found throughout the U.S., Nova Scotia, Europe, Asia and southern Canada. These plants produce finely divided, submerged leaves. They also produce small, bladder-like structures underneath the water, which are fitted with little valves that only open inward. They are covered with touch-sensitive hairs that allow insects, small crustaceans and fish to be trapped inside …

Blandfordia
These plants are from Australia. They can live in cool greenhouses or outdoors where the climate allows. Their rootstocks (rhizomes) are perennial and they grow about 18 inches high. Their leaves are long and slender. The flowers, which are produced in the summer, are narrow and tube-shaped. They come in yellow, orange, or scarlet.…

Blanketflower
(Gaillardia) These are hardy annual and perennial North American plants. They form mounds, 8 to 18 inches high. The basal leaves are linear to lanceolate, 3 to 4 inches long. The single or double flowers resemble Daisies and grow singly on wiry stems. They are 2 to 3 inches across. G. 'Dazzler' has beautiful, large flowers with bright orange-red central disks and petals; the petals are tipped with golden yellow. G. aristata also has large, Daisy-like flowers, but they have bright yellow petals w…

Blazing Star
(Mentzelia) This is a small group of erect growing annuals and biennials that come from North and South America. Their foliage is waxy, cut or toothed and 2 to 3 inches in length. The pretty, fragrant flowers grow up to 5 inches across and can resemble those of the daisy, cactus or passiflora. They are a creamy white to a greenish yellow color; some open at night.…

Blechnum
(Deer Fern, Hard Fern) This group of Ferns is found in Brazil, the West Indies, and other warm and temperate countries. Some types have dwarf, tufted growth, while others grow up to 4 feet high. Those found in subtropical climates need a minimum temperature of 50 degrees and those from tropical countries need a minimum temperature of 60 degrees. B. tabulare grows from 1 to 3 feet high with a spread of 1 or 2 feet. Its dark green fronds are evergreen or semi-evergreen. The outside fronds are oval…

Blood Leaf
(Iresine) These plants are grown for their richly colored leaves. They are natives to tropical America. There are between 20 and 25 species, but only a few are cultivated. I. Herbstii has purplish-red stems and leaves and will stay 12-20 inches tall if the shoots are pinched. Its variety aureoreticulata has oval, waxy leaves that are mid-green with bright to pale yellow or red veins. They grow on fleshy, red stems. I. Wallisii has smaller leaves that are bronze-red above and dark red underneath.…

Bloodflower
(Asclepias) Most of these perennials are from North America, but at least one is from South Africa and one is found in tropical America. Nearly all of these erect plants grow 2 or 3 feet high, but one, A. physocarpa (also known as Gomphocarpus physocarpus and commonly known as the Swan Plant), grows up to 6 feet high with a spread of 2 feet. This plant has lance-shaped, medium green, hairy leaves. During the summer, umbels of creamy or greenish-white flowers are produced; these are followed by i…

Blue Alkanet
(Anchusa) 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.…

Blue Beech
(Carpinus) Carpinus is the botanical name for a group of hardy, deciduous (leaf-losing) trees or large shrubs native to Europe, the Himalayas, eastern Asia, and North and Central America. The common names of these trees include Hornbeam, Blue Beech, Water Beech, and Ironwood. These trees range in height from 15 to 80 feet. C. caroliniana grows from 20 to 40 feet high. It has simple leaves arranged alternately on the twigs. They are rounded at the base and taper off into a pointed tip; they grow …

Blue Candle
(Myrtillocactus) This group only consists of about three, tree-like cacti from Mexico. Young plants are excellent grown in containers in a window garden or greenhouse; older plants make spectacular landscape specimens. In their native habitats, these cacti can grow up to 20 feet high with a trunk-like stem. However, plants grown from cuttings don't form a trunk, rather they branch at their base. In the summer, two or three, white flowers are produced per areole. These are followed by small, edib…

Blue Cupidone
(Catananche) These hardy perennials and annuals are commonly known as Cupid's Dart and Blue Cupidone. These plants were originally found in southwest Europe. C. caerulea var. Major forms clumps of slender, linear, blue-green leaves. Its flowers resemble Daisies and are borne atop wiry stems in the summer. They open from silvery buds to lavender-blue, papery flowers. The flowers and buds dry well. This plant grows from 18 to 24 inches high with a spread of 12 inches.…

Blue Dawn Flower
(Ipomoea) These perennial or annual climbing plants come from North America, Asia, South Africa and the West Indies and have several common names, one of which is Morning Glory. This group includes the Sweet Potato, I. Batatas. Most of these plants, however, are grown for their pretty flowers. The twining, climbers grow from 10 to 30 feet high and the bushy Morning Glory forms a mound, 3 to 4 feet high. The leaves are green or variegated silvery white, ovate or heart-shaped and up to 6 inches ac…

Blue Flame
(Myrtillocactus) This group only consists of about three, tree-like cacti from Mexico. Young plants are excellent grown in containers in a window garden or greenhouse; older plants make spectacular landscape specimens. In their native habitats, these cacti can grow up to 20 feet high with a trunk-like stem. However, plants grown from cuttings don't form a trunk, rather they branch at their base. In the summer, two or three, white flowers are produced per areole. These are followed by small, edib…

Blue Giant Hyssop
(Agastache) 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.…

Blue Grama
(Chondrosum) This is a grass grown for ornament. It is commonly called Blue grama and Mosquito Grass. This grass forms tufts of narrow, linear, dark gray-green leaves. In the summer, tiny, purple-brown flowers grow in little spikes. It grows up to 20 inches high and spreads about 8 inches.…

Blue Lace Flower
(Trachymene) This is an annual that can be grown in greenhouses for cut flowers or outdoors. This plant grows upright, 1 to 2 feet. Its fuzzy stems are clothed with finely divided leaves that grow 2 to 4 inches long. The flowers are produced in umbels, up to 3 inches across, at the ends of the stems; they may be colored medium to pale blue. Picking off the dead flowers will increase the blooms. This plant is a native of Australia.…

Blue Marguerite
(Felicia) These annual or tender evergreen perennials are natives of South Africa. They belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. The perennial kinds have small ovate leaves and they grow about 2-3 feet high. They bear blue or violet flowers. F. amelloides (the Blue Marguerite), is a bushy perennial that grows 1 to 2 feet high and has sky blue flowers. F. Bergeriana (the Kingfisher Daisy) is usually treated as an annual. It grows 6 inches high and has blue flowers. F. tennella is an annual that be…