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


Calocedrus
(Incense Cedar) These three hardy, evergreen conifers are natives of North America and Southeast Asia and are commonly known as Incense Cedars. The branchlets of these trees grow in wide, flattened sprays and the leaves are scale-like, flattened, and densely borne in opposite pairs. C. decurrens (California Incense Cedar) is a large, conical-shaped tree with dark green sprays of leaves. It is suitable for growing alone or with a group of shrubs and trees. C. decurrens Aureovariegata is a medium-…

Calochortus
This group consists of about 60, perennial bulbs, native to the western United States. These plants are commonly known as Butterfly Lilies, Fairy Lanterns, Globe Tulips, Mariposa Lilies, Sego Lilies, and Star Tulips. Of all the species of Calochortus, Mariposa Lilies are the most attractive. The large, 3- to 4-inch, cup-shaped flowers are produced atop erect stems, 12 to 15 inches high, over a period of several weeks in late spring and early summer. The colorful, delicate blossoms consist…

Calonyction
(Moonflower) These are gorgeous, herbaceous plants that climb. They bloom in the evening and are related to the Morning Glory. They grow wild in the tropics of both hemispheres. C. aculeatum is the most common kind. It can reach a height of 15 feet or more. It's covered with lovely leaves and white, fragrant flowers that resemble trumpets, up to 6 inches across. Calonyctions (Moonflowers) are able to thrive as perennials outside in the far South only. Otherwise, they may be grown in greenhouses,…

Caltha
(King Cup, Marsh Marigold) These hardy perennials are natives of Europe and America. They belong to the Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. These plants are found growing in marshes and by the banks of streams. C. palustris, King Cup or Marsh Marigold, forms clumps of kidney-shaped, glossy, dark green leaves, which grow up to 4 inches across and have serrated edges. The cup-shaped, bright golden yellow flowers grow up to 1½ inches across and have a waxy appearance. They are borne in long-stalked cl…

Calycanthus
(Allspice, Sweet Shrub) 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.…

Camassia
This group consists of hardy, deciduous, spring-flowering bulbs, which arenative to the marshes and wet meadows of western North America. These plants are suitable for growing in meadows, woodlands, borders, among shrubs and beside water gardens. Camassias have several common names such as, Camass, Indigo Squill, Meadow Hyacinth, and Quamash. The name Camass or Quamash was given to the plants by the North American Indians who cooked boiled or roasted the bulbs for food. (However, all Camas…

Camellia
These gorgeous shrubs, which are clothed in lustrous, dark green foliage, are natives of Japan and China. They produce large, elegant, rose-like blossoms that range in color from pale ivory to shell pink to glistening crimson. The flowers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They may be single, semi-double, anemone form, peony form, rose form double and formal double. Their sizes range from miniature (up to 2½' across) to very large (over 5' across). There are thousands of varieties available …

Campanula
(Bellflower, Canterbury Bell) 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 Bell…

Campsis
(Trumpet Creeper, Trumpet Vine) This group consists of only two deciduous, climbing shrubs. Commonly known as Trumpet Creepers, these attractive plants produce beautiful, trumpet-shaped flowers and are suitable for growing up roofs and walls and over tree stumps, though they shouldn't be allowed to climb a live tree as it will most likely choke it. C. grandiflora (Chinese Trumpet Creeper) is a large plant found wild in China, which reaches a 20-foot height. It has pinnate leaves consisting of 7 …

Canadian Pondweed
(Elodea) This aquatic perennial (Canadian Pondweed) is native to North America and is naturalized in Australia, Asia and Europe. It grows completely submerged beneath the water. It has multi-branched, slightly brittle stems that are clothed with whorls of sessile, medium green, pointed leaves.…

Canarina
(Canary Island Bellflower) These are tender, herbaceous perennials that flower in the winter. From their fleshy roots grow tall, thin stems that bear large, bell-shaped flowers. These plants are native to the Canary Isles. They may be grown in climates such as southern California's.…

Canary Clover
(Dorycnium) This group consists of about twelve deciduous sub-shrubs and herbaceous perennials native to the Mediterranean region and the Canary Islands. D. hirsutum (Canary Clover) is a small, tender sub-shrub. This dainty plant annually produces erect stems covered with small, silvery-fuzzy leaves usually consisting of five leaflets. From late summer into fall, terminal heads of white pea flowers tinged with pink are borne. These flowers are followed by dark red fruit pods, which contrast beau…

Canary Creeper
(Tropaeolum) This is a large group of tender annuals and perennials that are found wild from Mexico to Chile. Some are bushy, self-branching plants that grow 1 to 1½ feet high and some are climbing or trailing plants, growing 4 to 6 feet. The rounded, peltate leaves grow up to 2 inches across. They are waxy green and some varieties are splashed with white. The fragrant flowers are shaped irregularly and grow 2 to 3 inches across. They are colored rose, pink, red, orange, or yellow. Plucking off …

Canary Grass
(Phalaris) These hardy annual and perennial ornamental Grasses are found wild in most North Temperate regions. P. arundinacea (Ribbon grass, Gardener's garters) is an invasive perennial that forms clumps of evergreen, broadly linear leaves, which are green striped with white. The tiny, light greenish brown flowers are borne in thin panicles, in the summer. This Grass grows up to 3 feet high and has a limitless spread. P. canariensis (Canary Grass) is an annual with green leaves and variegated fl…

Canary Island Bellflower
(Canarina) These are tender, herbaceous perennials that flower in the winter. From their fleshy roots grow tall, thin stems that bear large, bell-shaped flowers. These plants are native to the Canary Isles. They may be grown in climates such as southern California's.…

Canary-Bird Flower
(Tropaeolum) This is a large group of tender annuals and perennials that are found wild from Mexico to Chile. Some are bushy, self-branching plants that grow 1 to 1½ feet high and some are climbing or trailing plants, growing 4 to 6 feet. The rounded, peltate leaves grow up to 2 inches across. They are waxy green and some varieties are splashed with white. The fragrant flowers are shaped irregularly and grow 2 to 3 inches across. They are colored rose, pink, red, orange, or yellow. Plucking off …

Candelabra Cactus
(Carnegiea) This group consists of only one, giant cactus native to the southwestern U.S. and northwest Mexico. C. gigantea (Candelabra Cactus; Giant Cactus; and Saguaro or Sahuaro) is one of the largest of the Cactus family. In the wild, the Saguaro Cactus usually forms large colonies. It is a home to many birds and is popularly used as scenery in movies. This cactus takes up to 150 years to grow into a plant 40 feet tall, eventually reaching a height of 50 feet or more with a trunk up to 2 fee…

Candelabra Flower
(Brunsvigia) These tender bulbs are natives of South Africa. Their funnel-shaped flowers are brilliantly colored. They may be scarlet, red, or pale red. They are produced in the summer in large bunches terminating the thick, 2- to 2½-foot stalks. Their leaves are fleshy, and strap-shaped, averaging 2 feet in length.…

Candytuft
(Iberis) These are perennials, annuals or biennials that grow wild in Spain, southern Europe and western Asia. They form bushy plants, 6 to 18 inches high. Their leaves are lanceolate and 3 to 4 inches long. They produce thick umbels of flowers, 2 to 3 inches across; they may be colored white, rose, lavender or pink. I. Affinis is a dwarf annual, which grows 6 inches or so high and produces honey-scented, white or pale lilac flowers. I. Gibraltarica produces flowers, which open up white and fade…

Cane Reed
(Arundinaria) This is a group of Bamboos. They belong to the Grass family, Gramineae. They are natives to the Himalayas, North America and China. A. gigantea, commonly known as Cane, Southern Cane, Cane Reed and Switchcane, grows wild in the bogs, stream and river sides and wet lands of the southern U.S. It is a rigid perennial that grows in thick stands up to 25 feet high. Its leaves are long, slender, flexible and lanceolate. The leaves that grow from the main stems and basal shoots are shorte…

Canna
This group consists of sixty deciduous, rhizomatous, and tropical perennials, which are mostly native to the moist, upland forests of Asia and Latin America. Two, aquatic varieties, C. flaccida and C. glauca, are natives of Southern swamps. These plants are valued for their gorgeous, colorful foliage and attractive, Gladiolus-like flowers. Cannas are commonly known as Indian Shot because of their hard, pea-like seeds. Indian Shot can be grown outdoors in containers or in the garden, as hou…

Canterbury Bell
(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…

Cantua
(Magic Flower) This group consists of six tender, evergreen shrubs and trees from the northern Andes of South America. C. buxifolia (Magic Flower) is an unfamiliar, but very beautiful, small shrub that can be grown in tropical climates. This plant can grow from 4 to 10 feet high. It's clothed with ovate shaped leaves and it produces bunches of pendulous, funnel-shaped, cherry red flowers, in mid-spring.…

Cape Dandelion
(Arctotheca) A. calendula, the Cape Dandelion, is originally from South Africa and is naturalized in central Portugal and southwestern Spain. The Cape Dandelion forms mounds of medium to dark green, divided or whole leaves, which are roughly hairy above and white downy beneath. The flowers resemble Daisies and are produced from late spring to fall. They have yellow ray florets and a darker center.…

Cape Ivy
(Senecio) This is a large group of hardy and tender annuals and perennials that may have shrubby, herbaceous, or climbing growth. Senecios are found wild in almost every country, especially in southern Europe; others are found in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, the United States and Mexico. They vary in size and shape, particularly their foliage, but almost all have yellow or purple flowers, which resemble daisies and grow up to 3 inches across. They grow in thick trusses ove…

Cape Jasmine
(Gardenia) These are tender shrubs from China, Japan, tropical and South Africa. They grow into bushes or small trees. They have ovate, glossy, dark green leaves and large, white, waxy, fragrant flowers that can be single or double. Gardenias are rarely successful when grown as houseplants. Lack of humidity is a big part of that, but other reasons may include drafts, fluctuating temperatures, insufficient sunlight, and keeping the required acidity of the soil. The hothouse plant, Gardenia jasmin…

Cape Jewels
(Nemesia) These are self-branching annuals and tender perennials that are found wild in South Africa. They grow 1 to 2 feet high and have lanceolate to linear leaves that grow up to 4 inches long. The flowers grow in 4-inch panicles. They are an inch across and pouched; they may be white, orange, yellow, rose-pink, scarlet, or crimson and they are often marked on the outside with a darker color. These plants are great for flower beds and for pots in the greenhouse for spring blooming.…

Cape Marigold
(Dimorphotheca) These are hardy annuals or tender perennials that produce large, vividly colored flowers on top of long, slender stems. The flowers resemble daisies and they belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. They are natives of South Africa and many varieties have been raised from the original wild types. D. aurantiaca produces blooms in pale and dark yellows, salmons and apricots, or white. D. Ecklonis can grow up to 2 feet high and bears large, white flowers tinted with purple in the sum…

Cape Pondweed
(Aponogeton) These hardy and tender aquatic plants are native to Asia, Africa and Australia. A. distachyus, the Water Hawthorne or Cape Pondweed, is the most popular variety. It forms oblong green and red leaves that float on the water's surface. In the spring and fall, inflorescences rise out of the water bearing vanilla-scented, white flowers that are speckled with black. A. fenestralis, the Lace-Leaf or Lattice-Leaf, is a tender plant that sends up long-stemmed leaves. The leaves have a lacy …

Caper
(Capparis) These tender shrubs are found wild from southwestern Europe to Afghanistan and Upper India. The main kind, C. spinosa, is commonly known as the Caper. This spiny, tender perennial forms a shrub growing 2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 5 feet wide. Capers are the unopened flower buds of this plant. The buds are popular for use in sauces, butters, cheese preparations and garnishes. If left on the plant, the flower buds open into beautiful pinkish-white flowers with purplish stamens. In souther…

Capparis
(Caper) These tender shrubs are found wild from southwestern Europe to Afghanistan and Upper India. The main kind, C. spinosa, is commonly known as the Caper. This spiny, tender perennial forms a shrub growing 2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 5 feet wide. Capers are the unopened flower buds of this plant. The buds are popular for use in sauces, butters, cheese preparations and garnishes. If left on the plant, the flower buds open into beautiful pinkish-white flowers with purplish stamens. In southern E…

Capsella
(Shepherd's Purse) This frost-hardy annual is originally from Europe and has naturalized widely. This plant has a flavor resembling Mustard. The branched stems rise up from a basal rosette of leaves. In early summer, spikes, 12 to 2 feet high and bearing white flowers, rise out of the foliage. The blossoms are followed by purse-shaped fruits.…

Capsicum
(Bell Pepper, Chili Pepper, Peppeps) 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 Pep…

Caragana
(Pea Tree) This group consists of about 80 deciduous shrubs or small trees that are mostly natives of Central Asia. They have evenly pinnate leaves and pea-like flowers. They are commonly known as Pea Trees. C. arborescens (Siberian Pea Tree) is a hardy, small, shrubby tree covered with compound leaves consisting of 4 to 6 leaflets and yellow flowers, in the spring. It is one of the toughest and most adaptable of all plants being able to withstand temperatures as low as -50º F. A variety of C. a…

Caralluma
This large group consists of tender succulents found wild in Africa, the Canary Islands, India, Arabia, southern Europe, Ceylon, and Afghanistan. These plants may be grown outdoors in the warmer and drier parts of North America, or in greenhouses and window gardens. The plants of this group vary from thin, recumbent stems from ½ to 1½ inches thick to erect growing clumps up to 8 inches high. The spines that cover the angled stems are actually leaves. The star-shaped, fleshy flowers of these plan…

Caraway
(Carum) This tall, frost-hardy biennial is an ancient herb cultivated for its aromatic seeds and tender young leaves. It is found wild in European countries and Morocco. Caraway plants form rosettes of carrot-like foliage the first season and stalks topped with clusters of white flowers the next. The flowers produce an abundance of seeds. Caraway seeds are used for flavoring in confectionery. A fragrant oil that is obtained from the seeds is said to have carminative and stimulant properties and …

Cardamine
(Bitter Cress, Cuckoo Flower, Lady's Smock) 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.…

Cardinal Climber
(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…

Cardinal Flower
(Lobelia) These are hardy and tender, annuals and perennials that grow wild in various parts of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. There are over 200 species, but comparatively few are grown in the garden. Those mainly grown range in size from the dwarf, compact annuals, which only grow a few inches high, to the perennials, which grow 3 feet or more high. The popular Lobelias that are used for summer bedding, have been raised from L. Erinus, a blue-flowered variety. The wild plant is straggl…

Cardoon
(Cynara) Cynara is the botanical name of two vegetables known as the Globe Artichoke and the Cardoon. The Cardoon is, C. cardunculus, botanically. It's a tender perennial that can grow 6 to 8 feet high. It resembles its cousin, the Globe Artichoke, but the gray-green leaves overlap at the base. The wide, plump, edible stems form loose stalks or heads like celery. Cardoons keep their vase shape until late in the season, when a branching central stem shoots up. Several buds, which resemble small a…

Carex
(Bowles' Golden Sedge, Nodding Sedge) Carex is a group of Sedges that are grown for decoration. Sedges can grow in sun or partial shade. Many grow naturally in water, though most will grow well in moist, well-drained, somewhat fertile soil. These perennials are found in tropical and temperate countries. C. hachijoensis var. Evergold forms thick tufts of grass-like, dark green leaves that are striped with yellow. The tiny, dark brown flowers are produced in small clusters terminating sturdy stems…

Carica
(Melon Tree, Papaya, Pawpaw) This group consists of about 25 species of semi-succulent trees native to tropical America. These trees have straight trunks and are topped with palmate leaves.The most popularly grown species is C. papaya, commonly known as the Papaya, Melon Tree (though technically it is a large herb) or Pawpaw (Note: Pawpaw is also the common name of an entirely different fruit called Asimina.) The Papaya is a short-lived, evergreen plant that can grow up to 25 feet high. I…

Carissa
(Hedge Thorn, Karanda, Natal Plum) These are tropical shrubs, natives of Africa, Australia and Asia. Some of them are grown outdoors in Florida and California. They have dark green, shiny leaves and bear fragrant white or pink flowers that are sometimes followed by edible fruits resembling plums. These plants are spiny and are great hedge plants.…

Carludovica
These plants are natives of South America. They are low-growing plants that resemble palms. A mass of short stems and leaves shaped like large fans grow up from the roots. The main kind, C. palmata, is valued in tropical South America. The young, partially developed leaves are divided into thin strips, boiled in water, bleached with lemon juice and made into the famous Panama hats of commerce. This is the only kind commonly found in cultivation. It grows 5-8 feet tall.…

Carnation
(Dianthus) This group of hardy plants includes Pinks, Carnations and Sweet Williams. The Carnation is the descendent of D. Caryophyllus; it grows wild in southern Europe. D. barbatus, the Sweet William, is found wild in the Mediterranean region. The Pinks have mainly come from D. plumarius. The Chinese and Indian Pinks have come from D. chinensis and are natives of China.…

Carnegiea
(Candelabra Cactus, Giant Cactus, Sahuaro, Saguaro) This group consists of only one, giant cactus native to the southwestern U.S. and northwest Mexico. C. gigantea (Candelabra Cactus; Giant Cactus; and Saguaro or Sahuaro) is one of the largest of the Cactus family. In the wild, the Saguaro Cactus usually forms large colonies. It is a home to many birds and is popularly used as scenery in movies. This cactus takes up to 150 years to grow into a plant 40 feet tall, eventually reaching a height of …

Carpenteria
(Tree Anemone) This group consists of only one tender, evergreen shrub from California that is commonly known as Tree Anemone. C. californica is a medium-sized shrub with long, narrow, green leaves that are covered with a grayish down underneath. Large, white flowers with golden anthers are borne in mid-summer at the ends of the shoots. Each flower is 2 to 3 inches in diameter.…

Carpinus
(Blue Beech, Hornbeam, Ironwood, Water Beech) 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…

Carrot
(Daucus) This plant is cultivated for its enlarged, edible root and is commonly known as the Carrot. The original species, from which the Carrot was developed, came from Europe and is known as Queen Anne's Lace. Their foliage is fine and lacy and the roots vary in size and shape; they are usually orange-red or yellow. Their flowers, which are small and white, don't grow until the year following that in which the seeds were sown. Carrots provide carotene, which becomes Vitamin A when absorbed by …

Carum
(Caraway) This tall, frost-hardy biennial is an ancient herb cultivated for its aromatic seeds and tender young leaves. It is found wild in European countries and Morocco. Caraway plants form rosettes of carrot-like foliage the first season and stalks topped with clusters of white flowers the next. The flowers produce an abundance of seeds. Caraway seeds are used for flavoring in confectionery. A fragrant oil that is obtained from the seeds is said to have carminative and stimulant properties an…

Carya
(Hickory Tree, Pecan Tree) These deciduous trees are mainly natives of eastern North America and Mexico, one kind is from China. Many of these trees have edible nuts. Caryas are commonly known as Hickory or Pecan trees. The leaves of Hickories are pinnately compound; from 5 to 11 leaflets are alternately arranged along the rachis. The leaves are fragrant when crushed. The flowers are borne in the spring along with the foliage. The male flowers are produced in pendant, 3-branched catkins near the…

Caryopteris
(Bluebeard) This group consists of about six hardy, small, deciduous shrubs that are natives to China, Mongolia and Japan. Bluebeards, as they are commonly known, are valued for their fragrant foliage and because they bloom in late summer and autumn, the time of year that few shrubs are flowering. Their foliage is a grayish color and they produce different shades of blue flowers among the varieties. C. incana has small leaves and violet-blue flowers in late summer and fall. This shrub is a sprea…

Caryota
(Fish-Tail Palm) A tropical plant native to Asia and Australia and belonging to the Palm family, Palmaceae. They have bulky cylindrical trunks and large tufts of finely divided leaves. These plants can grow 40-80 feet tall in their native environments. Young plants are used indoors in a greenhouse or as houseplants. In southern Florida and similar moderate climates, these plants are grown outside.…

Casaba Melon
(Cucumis) Cucumis is a large group comprised of Melons and Cucumbers. They are climbing plants found wild in Asia. Just below are some descriptions of the Cucumber family (cucurbitaceae); following will be descriptions of Melons…

Cashaw
(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…

Cassia
(Golden Shower, Senna, Shower Of Gold) Most of these shrubs are evergreen. They come mainly from tropical America. Their height ranges from 6 to 50 feet. Their dark green, shiny leaves are pinnate and they bear terminal clusters of golden-yellow flowers in the summer. Most Cassias are only hardy outdoors in the far South. C. corymbosa, a native from South America, can be cultivated in a cool, sunny greenhouse. C. glauca, a native from tropical Asia, and C. splendida, a native from Brazil, can al…

Cassinia
(Golden Cottonwood, Golden Heather, Silver Heather) This group consists of about 28 evergreen, heath-like shrubs found wild in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. C. fulvida (Golden Cottonwood, Golden Heather or Heath) is a small, dense shrub with upright growth. Its slender branches are covered with small leaves that have golden undersides giving the plant a tawny-yellow color. The new growths are sticky to touch. In mid-summer, dense terminal heads of white flowers are produced. C. vauvil…

Cassiope
(Himalayan Heather) This group of hardy, dwarf, evergreen shrubs are natives of the Himalayas, Asia and North America. They do better in cool climates where summers aren't too warm. They can withstand temperatures as low as -30º F. Cassiopes are suitable for growing in shady or semi-shady places of the rock garden or shrub border. These plants have tiny, compact, overlapping leaves and solitary, bell-shaped flowers that resemble Lilies-of-the-Valley. C. 'Edinburgh' is a hybrid with slender, dark…

Cast Iron Plant
(Aspidistra) This hardy plant needs the least effort to succeed. A native of China, it has large, broad, dark green leaves. Where the winters are mild, this plant can be placed outside in shady areas. Large, well-established plants occasionally produce interesting flowers that grow low among the leaves and are purplish-brown. A. elatior variegata produces foliage that is variegated with green and pale yellow.…

Castanea
(Chestnut Tree, Chinquapin) This group of hardy, deciduous trees is found growing from Maine to Michigan, south to Deleware, Tennessee, along the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia and Alabama. They are commonly known as Chestnut trees. C. dentata, the American Chestnut, was valued for the production of its large edible nuts and for its wood, which is light, soft and moderately strong, but very durable when in contact with the ground; it was often used for posts, poles, railroad ties, int…

Castor Aralia
(Kalopanax) This tree, commonly known as the Castor Aralia, is native to Japan and China. The Castor Aralia is highly resistant to pests and is a suitable shade tree. This tree grows fairly quickly and will eventually reach a height varying from 60 to 80 feet. The large, palmate, glossy green leaves of this tree have downy gray undersides, 5 to 7 lobes, and grow from 7 to 14 inches across. They resemble the shape and size of the foliage of the Castor-oil plant. In autumn, the foliage turns a dul…

Castor Bean
(Ricinus) This annual is from tropical Africa and is grown for its decorative foliage. These plants have upright growth, 5 to 15 feet. Their leaves are palmate (palm-shaped) and grow up to 3 feet across. Contact may cause severe skin allergy. R. communis, the Castor-Oil Plant, has several varieties. Gibsonii's leaves are bronze-green, sanguineus has reddish foliage and cambodgensis has purple leaves. The insignificant flowers have many stamens and no petals; they grow up to an …

Castor-Oil Plant
(Ricinus) This annual is from tropical Africa and is grown for its decorative foliage. These plants have upright growth, 5 to 15 feet. Their leaves are palmate (palm-shaped) and grow up to 3 feet across. Contact may cause severe skin allergy. R. communis, the Castor-Oil Plant, has several varieties. Gibsonii's leaves are bronze-green, sanguineus has reddish foliage and cambodgensis has purple leaves. The insignificant flowers have many stamens and no petals; they grow up to an …

Catalpa
(Indian Beans) This group of fairly large trees is native to North America, eastern Asia and the West Indies. These fast-growing trees are commonly known as Indian Beans. Most of them are deciduous, but a few keep their leaves throughout the year. These trees have large, heart-shaped leaves and older trees produce panicles of foxglove-like blossoms, which are followed by slender, brown seedpods. C. bignonioides, the Common or Southern Catalpa, grows from 35 to 40 feet high and produces a round h…

Catananche
(Blue Cupidone, Cupid's Dart) 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.…

Cathedral Windows
(Calathea) These tropical plants, also called Zebra Plants, are natives to Brazil and tropical America. They have insignificant flowers, but their leaves are very attractive and large. Their height may range from 6 inches to 3 feet tall. The foliage varies in color; some have rose, yellow, olive or white leaves. A minimum winter temperature of 55 degrees is required. C. insignis has wavy-edged leaves that grow up to 18 inches long. The top of the leaf is pale green with blotches of dark green an…

Catmint
(Nepeta) This is a large group of hardy herbaceous plants, of which few are in cultivation. They are found wild in parts of Europe and Asia and some are naturalized in North America. N. Faassenii, the Mauve Catmint, is a popular kind that has somewhat spreading growth. Their thin stems are covered with gray leaves and it produces a lot of small lavender-blue or pale mauve flowers mainly in June. When in full bloom, Catmint reaches a height of 18 inches. N. Cataria, Catnip, is the well-known trea…

Catnip
(Nepeta) This is a large group of hardy herbaceous plants, of which few are in cultivation. They are found wild in parts of Europe and Asia and some are naturalized in North America. N. Faassenii, the Mauve Catmint, is a popular kind that has somewhat spreading growth. Their thin stems are covered with gray leaves and it produces a lot of small lavender-blue or pale mauve flowers mainly in June. When in full bloom, Catmint reaches a height of 18 inches. N. Cataria, Catnip, is the well-known trea…

Cattail
(Typha) This group of aquatic plants is popularly known as Cattails. Cattails are found growing wild in rivers and ponds of temperate and tropical regions. They vary in height from 1 to 7 feet. T. latifolia, the Cattail that commonly grows in the wild, is too big to cultivate in the average water garden. Its size is overpowering and it spreads rapidly. T. latifolia var. variegata grows 3 or 4 feet high in containers, but up to 7 feet with fertile soil and regular feeding. It produces tall spikes…

Caucasian Scabious
(Scabiosa) These are hardy perennial and annual herbaceous plants that are used for cut flowers as well as garden decoration. The name Scabiosa is derived from scabies, itch; in regard to the plant's supposed properties of curing irritation of the skin. These plants have upright growth, 2 to 3 feet in height. Their leaves are lanceolate and coarsely toothed, growing up to 4 inches long. They grow mostly at the base of the plant. The fragrant flowers are 2 to 3 inches across and are domed …

Cautleya
This plant grows up to 2 feet high with a spread of 20 inches. It is an upright plant with large, lance-shaped, shiny green leaves on reed-like stems. The funnel-shaped, pale orange or yellow flowers are surrounded by maroon-purple bracts and are produced in erect spikes above the leaves in late summer and early fall. This plant is originally found in the Himalayas.…

Ceanothus
(Blueblossom, California Lilac, Ceanothus, Creeping Blueblossom, Squaw Carpet) This group consists of about 55 evergreen and deciduous creepers, shrubs and small trees that grow wild throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico south to Guatemala. Ceanothus are commonly known as California Lilacs, as many species are native of that state. Most Ceanothus are tender and need a mild climate in which to grow, though there are a few hardy varieties. These beautiful plants are mainly grown for their fluffy…

Cedar Tree
(Cedrus) These evergreen trees are commonly known as Cedar or Cypress trees. They are originally from the Himalayas, the Syrian and Atlas Mountains, and Cyprus. They are different from other cone-bearing trees in their needles, which are produced in thick clusters on very short growths and surround terminal shoots at irregular intervals. The flowers are produced early in fall when the pollen-bearing cones are very noticeable. It takes 2 years for the seeds to completely ripen; the cones fall to …

Cedrus
(Cedar Tree, Cypress) These evergreen trees are commonly known as Cedar or Cypress trees. They are originally from the Himalayas, the Syrian and Atlas Mountains, and Cyprus. They are different from other cone-bearing trees in their needles, which are produced in thick clusters on very short growths and surround terminal shoots at irregular intervals. The flowers are produced early in fall when the pollen-bearing cones are very noticeable. It takes 2 years for the seeds to completely ripen; the c…

Celastrus
(Bittersweet) 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…

Celeriac
(Apium) This is the botanical name for Celery, Leaf Celery (also called French Celery or Chinese Celery) and Celeriac (also called Knob Celery, Celery Root, or Turnip-rooted Celery).…

Celery Root
(Apium) This is the botanical name for Celery, Leaf Celery (also called French Celery or Chinese Celery) and Celeriac (also called Knob Celery, Celery Root, or Turnip-rooted Celery).…

Celosia
(Cockscomb) These tender annuals come from tropical Asia and other warm countries. There are two kinds of Celosia. One type bears brightly colored flowers that resemble a cock's comb in appearance. The flowers come in yellow, orange, crimson or pink. The other type has a flower that is soft and fluffy like a feather plume; they are colored crimson, scarlet or gold. Celosia bloom in the summer and fall. These plants will grow from 1-3 feet high.…

Celsia
(Cretan Mullein) These are tender subshrubs, biennial and herbaceous plants found in Crete and the Mediterranean region. They belong to the Snapdragon family, Scrophulariaceae. Their leaves are lance-shaped and they bear tall spikes of flowers. C. Arcturus can grow 4 feet high. This shrubby perennial bears yellow flowers with purple anthers in the summer. C. cretica can grow 5 feet tall. This tender biennial produces yellow flowers in July.…

Celtis
(Hackberry Tree, Hoop Ash, Nettle-Tree, Sugar Berry) Celtis is the botanical name for the Hackberry tree, also known as the Sugarberry, Nettle tree and Hoop Ash. This group includes mostly hardy and deciduous trees (sometimes bushes) mainly from the Northern Hemisphere. The Hackberries resemble the Elms, but are smaller trees. C. occidentalis is a medium-sized tree, growing from 25 to 40 feet high. It forms a round head of branches. The leaves are arranged alternately on the branches. They are s…

Celtuce
(Lactuca) This is a large group of hardy annuals and perennials found wild in various parts of Europe. They are very popular salad plants commonly known as Lettuce. The most commonly grown kinds of Lettuce are derived from L. sativa. These varieties fall into 4 classes, based on their shape and growth. Minor's Lettuce is a different species (see Montia perfoliata), but is also used as a salad green or potherb.…

Centaurea
(Bachelor's-Button, Basket Flower, Cornflower, Dusty Miller, Knapweed, Mountain Bluet, Sweet Sultan) These are hardy, herbaceous, perennial and annual plants that are natives of many European countries, in North America and other numerous places. Some of the herbaceous kinds make very nice border plants. Centaureas belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. The annual Cornflower, C. Cyanus, also known as Bachelor's-Button, grows 1 to 11/2 feet high. This plant produces blue, rose or white flowers t…

Centradenia
These subshrubby, evergreen plants, which produce their flowers in the winter, are found wild in Mexico and Central America. C. grandifolia grows to 2 feet high. Its winged branches are covered with long, pointy leaves that are red underneath. It`s a lovely, bushy plant that produces terminal clusters of light rose-pink flowers that will last a while when cut. C. inaequilateralis grows up to1 foot high; it produces terminal clusters of pink flowers and also has red coloring underneath its leaves…

Centranthus
(Valerian) Centranthus is a group of hardy annuals and perennials native of Europe, and North Africa to Turkey. These plants are commonly known as Valerian. C. ruber, the Red Valerian, forms loose clumps of blue-green, lance- or oval-shaped leaves. Its small, star-shaped, dark red-pink flowers are borne in heads above the leaves from late spring to fall. This plant grows from 2 to 3 feet high.…

Century Plant
(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…

Cephalanthus
(Buttonbush) This group consists of about six evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs from North and Central America, Africa, and eastern Asia. C. occidentalis, the Buttonbush, is a medium-sized, deciduous shrub that is easily, but rarely, grown. The Buttonbush is covered with ovate-shaped leaves that grow from 2 to 6 inches long. Its creamy white, fragrantflowers are borne in small, round heads, in late summer.…

Cephalaria
These hardy perennials are natives of Europe. They grow up to 6 feet high with a spread of 4 feet. C. gigantea, the Giant or Yellow Scabious, is a vigorous growing plant with dark green leaves divided into lance-shaped sections. The beautiful, large, pale yellow flowers are borne atop wiry stems in mid-summer.…

Cephalocereus
(Old Man Cactus) This small group of cacti is native to Mexico. These slow-growing, columnar-shaped, blue-green plants can reach a height of up to 50 feet in the wild. However, in cultivation they rarely exceed a height of 3 feet. The spines of these cacti vary in length, but are sometimes long and silky. Trumpet-shaped, pink, white, or yellow flowers open at night on plants that are at least 20 years old. The blossoms are followed by seedpods that split open when ripe. C. senilis (Old Man Cactu…

Cephalotaxus
(Plum Yew) This group consists of four evergreen shrubs or shrubby trees that are natives of the Himalayas and eastern Asia. Commonly known as Plum Yews, the female plants produce large, olive-like fruits that ripen in their second year. C. fortunei var. Prostrate Spreader is a low-growing shrub that spreads very widely. It grows up to 3 feet high and spreads as much as 15 feet. The branches of this Plum Yew are spirally covered in two opposite rows of slender, dark green, lanceolate leaves, 21/…

Ceratophyllum
(Coontail, Hornwort) These aquatic perennials are commonly known as Coontails or Hornworts. They are found in ponds and lakes in many parts of the world, including North America. Coontails are often found floating freely or loosely anchored in the mud. The plant consists of long stems, 1 or 2 feet in length, covered in whorls of dark green, feathery, forked leaves that grow up to 11/2 inches in length. Unnoticeable flowers are produced in the axils of the leaves. Coontails can be placed in a pon…

Ceratopteris
(Floating Fern, Water Fern, Water Hornfern, Water Sprite) These interesting tropical, aquatic Ferns are found in ponds and lakes in many parts of the world, including North America. C. pteridoides, the Floating Fern, is an edible plant from South America. It is found growing wild in Florida, along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. This plant produces rosettes of pale green, floating, sterile fronds that are buoyed up with internal air pockets. Taller, much-divided, larger, fertile fro…

Ceratostigma
(Plumbago) This group consists of about eight tender, deciduous perennials and shrubs from eastern Africa and eastern Asia. These plants, commonly known as Plumbagoes, are grown for their attractive fall foliage and pretty, blue flowers. They are excellent for growing in the rock garden or flower border. C. griffithii is a low-growing, semi-evergreen plant with deep blue flowers and bright red, autumn foliage that persists well into the winter. After a harsh winter, this plant may not blossom. C…

Cercidiphyllum
(Katsura Tree) This group consists of one hardy, deciduous tree native to Japan and China. It is an attractive lawn ornament that provides great shade. This tree is grown for the beauty of its foliage, as its red flowers are borne inconspicuously when the leaves open. Male and female flowers are produced on separate trees. C. japonicum, the Katsura Tree, is a variety that eventually reaches a height of 40 to 60 feet. Female trees ordinarily grow with multiple trunks and spread their branches a d…

Cercis
(Judas Tree, Redbud) This group of beautiful, deciduous trees or shrubs grows wild in North America and from southern Europe to eastern Asia. These plants are commonly known as Redbuds because, in early spring before their leaves open, their branches are covered with an abundance of purplish-pink flowers. Redbud Trees bear flowers at 4 or 5 years of age. In late spring, 3- to 5-inch, glossy green, heart-shaped leaves are produced; these turn yellow in autumn, before falling off. C. canaden…

Cereus
(Apple Cactus, Curiosity Plant, Giant Club, Peruvian Apple, Peruvian Torch) This popular group of cacti from South America consists of about 60 species. These vigorous-growing, mostly columnar-shaped cacti are easy to grow and make excellent container plants when small. Outdoors, when used as landscaping plants, these cacti will usually reach a height of 30 feet or more, growing up to 4 feet per year. Some branch at the top, resembling a candelabrum; others branch close to the base. In the sprin…

Ceropegia
(Rosary Vine, String Of Hearts) These plants are natives of South Africa and other tropical countries. Their flowers have a waxy appearance and they resemble small lanterns. These plants need a minimum winter temperature of 60 degrees. Ceropegia debilis is a threadlike vine with slender pointed foliage. Ceropegia radicans is a succulent vine with spadelike leaves and small green and white (with a touch of purple) flowers. Ceropegia woodii is also a threadlike vine with heart-shaped, silver marke…

Cestrum
(Jessamine) This is a large group of tender, evergreen and deciduous shrubs and small trees native to Central and South America and the West Indies. C. elegans is a small to medium-sized, evergreen shrub with large clusters of tube-shaped, brilliant red flowers that bloom over a long period during the summer and fall. This plant usually needs some support. C. parqui (Willow-leaved Jessamine) is a small to medium-sized shrub that produces an abundance of yellowish-green flowers from early to mid-…

Chaenomeles
(Flowering Quince) This group consists of three hardy, deciduous shrubs from eastern Asia, commonly known as Flowering Quinces. These thorny shrubs are suitable for growing against walls, in borders and standing alone. Flowering Quinces are easily grown and are valued for their saucer-shaped blossoms, which may be red, pink, orange, or white and are followed by large, fragrant fruits. (The plant that is grown for its edible fruits is, Cydonia, the orchard Quince. Go see.) C. speciosa var.…

Chaerophyllum
(Turnip-Rooted Chervil) This group of perennials and annuals are natives of Europe. C. bulbosum, the Turnip-rooted Chervil, should be treated as a biennial. It has fern-like, compound leaves and umbels of small white flowers. Its roots look like small, short Carrots and the flesh is yellowish-white. They can be eaten if they are boiled. C. hirsutum var. Roseum is a vigorous plant that can grow up to 4 feet high. It forms clumps of large, soft, divided leaves, which resemble those of the Fern. Th…

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