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Botany - Flower terms
Category: Animals and Nature > Botany
Date & country: 09/09/2007, USA
Words: 2228


Chili 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…

Chiliotrichum
Two tender, evergreen shrubs belong to this group and are native to South America. C. diffusum is a small shrub with linear leaves, 3/4 to 3 inches long. The green, leathery leaves are covered with white down on their undersides, which eventually turns brown. In the summer, white flowers, which resemble Daisies, are produced.…

Chimonanthus
(Winter Sweet) This group consists of six evergreen and deciduous shrubs native to China, though only one, C. praecox, is usually grown. These shrubs, commonly known as Wintersweet, produce very fragrant, waxy flowers in the winter. C. praecox is a medium-sized, deciduous shrub that produces waxy, light yellow flowers with purple centers. The blossoms, which aren't produced on young plants, are extremely fragrant; a single spray bearing three or four flowers is sufficient to fill a moderately si…

Chin Cacti
(Gymnocalycium) This group contains 80 variable species. They are natives of South American countries from Argentina, north to Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil. The plants range from small stems, 11/2 inches across, to stems 8 inches wide and high. They range in color from blue-green to gray or brown. Most of the species flower profusely and at an early age. The long-lasting flowers range in color from white to light yellow and pink and only open fully in bright light. The blossoms are fol…

China Fir
(Cunninghamia) This group consists of just two fairly hardy, evergreen conifers, which somewhat resemble Araucaria, though their leaves are softer and lighter colored. These trees, commonly known as China Firs, are natives of China and Formosa. C. lanceolata is a small to medium-sized tree with lance-shaped leaves, 1 to 23/4 inches long, compactly whorled around the branches. The leaves are emerald- to blue-green above with two white bands beneath. They darken to bronze by autumn.…

Chinaberry
(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…

Chinese Artichoke
(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…

Chinese Celery
(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).…

Chinese Date
(Zizyphus) These deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs are natives of the warmer climates. Some are found in California, Texas and Mexico. The most popular is Z. jujuba, commonly known as the Jujube or Chinese Date. The Chinese Date isn't a true date tree, but the 1- to 2-inch, edible fruits resemble dates and can be eaten fresh, dried or preserved. This tree ultimately grows from 15 to 25 feet high and provides a light, filtered shade. Its spiny branches are clothed with ¾- to 2½-inch, dark …

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

Chinese Flame Tree
(Koelreuteria) These hardy, deciduous trees are natives of China. They grow quickly and are excellent for growing in lawns or shading patios. They can be grown along country roads and city streets, since they are tolerant of polluted air. The blue-green leaves grow from 8 to 15 inches long and consist of 1- to 3-inch leaflets; they open with a reddish hue in the spring. In early summer, they produce an abundance of 12- to 15-inch, loose clusters of small, yellow flowers. K. bipinnata, commonly k…

Chinese Gooseberry
(Actinidia) This group consists of about 30 species of hardy and tender, deciduous, climbing plants that are natives of eastern Asia. These plants are great for growing on trellises, along fences, covering walls, or tall stumps. They are grown for their beauty as well as their fruits and are commonly known as Kiwi or Chinese Gooseberry. A. chinensis (also known as A. deliciosa) is a tender, large vine that can reach a height of 28 feet. Its shoots are thickly covered with reddish hairs and…

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

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

Chinese Lettuce
(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.…

Chinese Parasol Tree
(Firmiana) This attractive, tender tree is a native of Africa and Asia. F.simplex is commonly known as the Chinese Parasol Tree, Phoenix Tree and Varnish Tree. It is very disease and pest resistant and makes a suitable shade tree. The Chinese Parasol Tree is valued for its huge, 5-lobed leaves, which measure up to a foot across. This tree grows fairly quickly when young, eventually reaching a height of 20 to 40 feet. The bark is shiny, grayish green and in mid-summer, the tree produces 12-…

Chinese Preserving Melon
(Benincasa) 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 only grown in the U.S. for interest.…

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

Chinese Scholar Tree
(Sophora) This is a group of tender and hardy, evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. S. japonica, the Chinese Scholar Tree or Japanese Pagoda Tree, is a native of China. This handsome, deciduous plant makes a wonderful shade tree and can even tolerate the polluted atmosphere of the city. When grown in a yard, the Japanese Pagoda Tree can reach a height ranging from 50 to 75 feet; however, when grown along the road in compact soil, it only grows to 30 or 40 feet. The 6- to 10-inch, bright-gre…

Chinese Soap Tree
(Gymnocladus) These hardy, deciduous trees are slow-growing and pest resistant. There are two varieties, the most common one will be described next. C. dioica, commonly known as the Kentucky Coffee Tree, is originally from North America. It is said that the Indians and early immigrants at one time roasted and ground the large seeds to make a bitter, coffee-like drink, hence the common name. This tree will eventually reach a height varying from 40 to 90 feet. The bi-pinnate leaves open a pinkish …

Chinese Spinach
(Amaranthus) These are tender annuals that are natives of India, the Philippines and other warm countries. They are erect-growing plants; their height ranges from 2 to 8 feet high. Their leaves are long or oval, from 2 to 4 inches long and they start out green or dark red and change to bright yellow, orange or florescent pink at the tops. They produce pretty tassels of flowers that may be wine red or chartreuse. The flowers last a long time. Those with colorful leaves don't produce as lovely flo…

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

Chinese Tallow Tree
(Sapium) This deciduous, tropical tree is a native of Japan and China. S. sebiferum, commonly known as the Chinese Tallow Tree, Popcorn Tree and Vegetable Tallow, is a quick growing tree that is naturalized and widely grown for ornament and shade in tropical climates. The Chinese Tallow Tree grows 35 to 40 feet high. It is clothed with glossy light green, oval, pointy-tipped leaves that tremble in the breeze. They grow from 1 to 3 inches in length and are quite pest-free. The foliage turns dark …

Chinese Water Chestnut
(Eleocharis) This is a group of aquatic, rush-like perennials. Some grow naturally along the edges of ponds and others grow completely submerged. E. acicularis, Hair Grass, is a hardy variety native to North America, Asia and Europe. It has pale green, needle-like leaves, up to 8 inches in length. This plant spreads vigorously by means of rhizomes and care must be taken that it doesn't choke out other submerged plants. E. montevidensis, Spike Rush, is a handsome plant that grows from 6 to 12 inc…

Chinquapin
(Castanea) 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, interior finish, etc…

Chionanthus
(Fringe Tree, Old-Man's-Beard) This group consists of about 120 deciduous trees or shrubs, of which two are often grown. The most popular is C. virginicus, a native of the eastern U.S. and commonly known as Fringe Tree and Old-Man's-Beard. It is usually a shrub growing 8 to 12 feet high, but in good conditions can grow into a tree 20 to 30 feet high. The Fringe Tree doesn't open its large, 3- to 8-inch, obovate-oblong leaves until late spring or early summer. Fringe trees grow slowly, but begin …

Chionodoxa
This group consists of five or six hardy, perennial bulbs native to the high alpine meadows of Turkey. These plants are commonly known as Glory-of-the-Snowbecause they bloom in the snow of their native habitats. Glory-of-the-Snow thrives where temperatures dip down as low as -30º F. These plants grow 6 to 9 inches high and produce clumps of slender, green leaves. In late winter or early spring, clusters of blue, white, or pink flowers are borne. C. forbessi varies in height from 3 to 6 in…

Chirita
This is a group of tender perennials native of Ceylon, Malaya and India. Their height ranges from 1 to 3 feet. C. lavendulacea grows up to 24 inches high and has evergreen, fuzzy, pale green leaves that grow up to 8 inches long. Its funnel-shaped flowers will grow from spring through fall if sown in succession. The tube is white and the petals are lavender-blue. C. hamosa bears white flowers stained with blue or pink. C. Horsfieldii bears yellowish-white flowers tinted with purple and C. Marcani…

Chironia
These are tender, herbaceous or shrubby plants found in South Africa. They have slender, ribbed leaves and they produce an abundance of small pink or rosy-purple flowers that are tubular at the base and opened widely at the top. The five stamens are attached to the throat of the tube and bend downwards. Chironias are great for growing outside in mild climates that are frost-free. In harsh climates, they can be grown outside for the summer and brought inside during the winter.…

Chives
(Allium) These hardy bulbs grow wild in many parts of the world. Many of the varieties are commonly known vegetables such as the Chives, Garlic, Leek, Onion, Ramp and Shallot. Many kinds are grown for their pretty clusters of flowers, which come in an array of colors during the spring and summer. Some of the smaller kinds are great for the rock garden and some in the flower border. A. Rosenbachianum is one of the prettiest grown for its flowers. It produces rose-purple flowers on 2½- to 3-foot s…

Chlorophytum
(Spider Plant) These plants are native to tropical and southern Africa and are grown for their ornamental foliage. They form tufts of long, thin leaves that may vary in color. They produce clusters of small white flowers at the end of long, slender stalks that extend far above the foliage. After the flowers have died, there are little plantlets that will develop new plants when in contact with the soil. C. comosum variety Vittatum has long, slender green leaves with a white stripe running down t…

Choisya
(Mexican Orange Flower) This group consists of seven tender, evergreen shrubs native to Mexico and the southwestern U.S. C. ternata (Mexican Orange Flower) is a round, medium-sized shrub that will grow 5 to 10 feet high. It has glossy, dark green leaves usually consisting of three leaflets, sometimes two or four. The leaflets grow 1½ to 3 inches long and ½ to 1 inch wide. When they are crushed they release a strong, pungent odor. From early spring to late summer and often again in the fall, whit…

Chokeberry
(Aronia) The deciduous shrubs belonging to this group are commonly known as Chokeberries. They are natives of North America and are grown for their attractive foliage, which turns brilliant colors in autumn, white or pinkish flowers in the spring and colorful fruits. A. arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry) is a medium-sized shrub with slender, dark green leaves that are grayish-downy beneath. Its blossoms are followed by bright red fruits. A. melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry) is a small shrub with shiny, d…

Cholla
(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…

Chondrosum
(Blue Grama, Mosquito Grass) 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.…

Chordospartium
(Weeping Broom) This group consists of only one tender, deciduous shrub that is a native of New Zealand. C. stevensonii, the Weeping Broom, is an interesting, medium-sized, broom-like, leafless shrub. In the summer, racemes of white flowers tinged with lavender-pink are produced. This bush resembles a tiny, weeping willow. This rare shrub looks brown and dead for the first few years of life.…

Chorizema
These shrubby plants are natives of Australia. They provide an abundance of pea-shaped flowers on terminal spikes in early summer. The colors may be red and purple, orange-red or orange-purple, depending on the type. Their thin, woody stems are clothed with small leaves resembling holly.…

Christmas Cactus
(Schlumbergera) Commonly known as Christmas Cactus, a true cactus, native to Brazil (also known as Zygocactus). These plants have a wide flat green stem that look like leaves and produce colorful flowers. The flowers come in a wide variety of colors, red, purple, peach, orange, pinks and creams. Christmas cactus grows best in bright light, direct sun can cause the plant to turn yellow. Most of the growing is done between April and September, ideal temperature at this time is ar…

Christmas Fern
(Polystichum) These tender and hardy Ferns (Holly Ferns) are found in many parts of the world, especially in tropical America, North America, Europe, tropical Asia, Japan and South Africa. The fronds of these Ferns vary in length from 2 to 4 feet. P. aculeatum 'Pulcherrimum' has arching, evergreen or semi-evergreen, rigid fronds that are delicately cut into toothed segments. These feathery fronds are bright green maturing to dark green. P. setiferum 'Divisilobum' has arching, bright green, narro…

Christmas Rose
(Helleborus) Helleborus is a group of very beautiful and interesting, evergreen or deciduous (leaf-losing) perennials that are native to southern Europe and Asia. These plants belong to the Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. They grow upright from 12 to 18 inches high. These plants have several common names such as Hellebore, Christmas Rose, and Lenten Rose. H. purpurascens has deciduous, dark green leaves that are divided into 2 to 6, lance-shaped segments. In early spring, clusters of large, nod…

Christophine
(Sechium) This is a semi-hardy perennial vine native to South America. It can grow up to 15 feet in the mid-South and up to 30 feet in the Southwest. The Chayote produces waxy-green, pear shaped fruits. Some are spiny and some are ridged. Other common names that is goes by includes Mirliton, Christophine and Vegetable Pear. In climates where they can survive the winter, the tuberous roots grow large and can be eaten candied, boiled, or roasted.…

Chrysanthemum
(Alecost, Bible-Leaf, Cost Mary, Costmary, Fever Few, Golden Feather, Marguerite, Mint Geranium, Mum, Paris Daisy, Shasta Daisy, Sweet Mary) These hardy plants are natives of China, Japan, northern Africa, and southern Europe. They belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. Their flowers come in every color except blue. Their blooms come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. Some are spherical in shape and have incurved petals at the center. Some have tubular-shaped petals of unequal length with l…

Chuperosa
(Beloperone) 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 and has rosy…

Chusquea
(Bamboo) 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 B…

Cibotium
(Mexican Tree Fern) A large fern that is native to Mexico and China and has lacy, light green, leathery fronds which range in length from 18 inches to 3 feet. After many years, these will eventually form a trunk that can grow from 10-15 feet in height. One species, C. Barometz, is native from China and is not in cultivation any longer. It is said to bear an interesting resemblance to a lamb. The natives used to regard it as a half-plant, half-animal that had flesh and blood and was covered with …

Cicer
(Chick Pea, Garbanzo Bean) This annual is commonly known as the Garbanzo Bean or Chick Pea. The Garbanzo Bean is a native of Asia and an important food item from the Mediterranean countries to India; they are full of protein and starch. These plants are busy and grow 1 to 2 feet high. They resemble vetch more than peas or beans. They have compound leaves composed of 9 to 15 leaflets and produce short, bloated pods that contain 1 or 2 wrinkled seeds; the pods are about an inch long. For as much s…

Cigar Flower
(Cuphea) These are tender, herbaceous perennials and subshrubs mainly from Mexico. Their height ranges from 1 to 2 feet and their flowers may be red and black, scarlet or purplish, lavender or dark purple. Cupheas are great for the window garden and greenhouse. C. platycentra, is a pretty summer bedding plant and they all may be grown permanently outside in the far South.…

Cimicifuga
Cimicifuga, Bugbane, is a group of hardy perennials that grow wild in North America, China, Japan, Kamchatka, and Mongolia. C. simplex, also called Ramchatka, grows 4 to 5 feet high with a spread of 2 feet. Its green leaves are divided into narrow oval, toothed and irregularly lobed leaflets. In the autumn, long, thin, arching spikes of tiny, star-shaped, white flowers are produced. They have a slightly unpleasant scent. Cimicifuga, is taken from cimex, a bug, and fugo, to flee awa…

Cineraria
These are herbaceous perennials that are often grown as annuals. There are three basic types: the large-flowered; the stellata or Star-flowered; the intermediate, with flowers similar to the stellata and having the compact growth of the large-flowered; and the dwarf intermediate strain, growing 1-foot tall and having a compact, free-flowering growth. They all come in a wide range of colors. There are two main types of the tall, small-flowered Cinerarias. The most popular is the Star-flowered, wh…

Cinnamon Vine
(Dioscorea) This is a group of tropical and subtropical vines that can be grown for ornament as well as a food crop.…

Cinquefoil
(Potentilla) Potentilla (Cinquefoil) is the botanical name for a group of hardy perennials and shrubs originally found in North America, the European mountains and northern Asia. These plants vary in height from 8 inches to 2 feet. They have pretty foliage and a bunch of saucer-shaped flowers. There are tall kinds suitable for planting in borders and dwarf varieties, which are excellent for the rock garden. P. nepalensis 'Miss Willlmott' forms clumps of green leaves palmately divided into 5 toot…

Cirsium
(Fishbone Thistle, Plumed Thistle) This group of annuals, biennials, and perennials are natives in damp meadows in central and southwestern Europe and North America. Most of these plants, however, are weeds. The main kinds that are cultivated are as follows: C. Rivulare atropurpureum is a clump forming perennial that grows 4 feet or more high. Its leaves are narrow and deeply divided and produced mostly at the base. The small, dark crimson flowers resemble little thistles. They grow in small bun…

Cissus
(Grape Ivy, Kangaroo Vine, Treebine) These climbing plants are natives of several tropical and subtropical countries. C. antarctica is shrubby and climbs along with tendrils. It has shiny, green leaves with brown veins and stems. C. rhombifolia is a vinelike plant with hairy brown branches and shiny green leaves that have fuzzy, white undersides, as in the new growth. It also climbs with the aid of tendrils. In the warmest parts of the U. S., several varieties can grow outside in regular soil wi…

Cistus
(Gum Cistus, Rock Rose) This is a group of about twenty hardy and tender, evergreen shrubs found wild from the Canary Islands throughout the Mediterranean region to the Caucasus. These shrubs are commonly known as Rock Roses and Gum Cistus. They are small shrubs, usually attaining a height of only 3 feet. They produce lovely flowers, which are short-lived but are borne in succession for a long period of time. These shrubs are suitable for growing in coastal regions or in alkaline, shallow, or po…

Citron
(Citrus) These plants are native to the southern and southeastern mainland of Asia and the bordering Malayan islands. They are small, spiny shrubs or trees with alternate, usually evergreen, leaves, which are shiny and leathery and dotted with oil glands. The stems are mostly winged and jointed with the leaves and there is usually a spine on the twigs at the attachment of each stem. Their flowers smell sweet and they have five petals that are white and some kinds have purple staining the o…

Citronella Grass
(Cymbopogon) C. citratus is a tender, ornamental grass that has a fragrance resembling the scent of lemons. It grows in clumps from 4 to 6 feet high and has slender leaves and grass-like flowers in terminal spikes or racemes. Lemongrass belongs to the Grass family, Gramineae and is native of India. The related C. nardus is the source of citronella, a popular, old-fashioned insect repellent.…

Citrullus
(Watermelon) C. lanatus is the botanical name of the very popular fruit, Watermelon. C. lanatus of standard size grow into long, rambling vines. There are smaller, hybrid vines, however, that only spread to a diameter of 5 or 6 feet. Watermelon vines are clothed with large leaves and light yellow flowers, which are followed by the juicy fruit. Watermelons are grown for their sweet, juicy interiors and in China, for edible seeds. They range in size from very large and heavy to moderate-size and s…

Citrus
(Citron, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Shaddock) These plants are native to the southern and southeastern mainland of Asia and the bordering Malayan islands. They are small, spiny shrubs or trees with alternate, usually evergreen, leaves, which are shiny and leathery and dotted with oil glands. The stems are mostly winged and jointed with the leaves and there is usually a spine on the twigs at the attachment of each stem. Their flowers smell sweet and they have five petals that are whit…

Cladrastis
(Yellowwood) These deciduous trees, commonly called Yellowwood, are natives of the southeastern U.S. and Japan. They make excellent shade trees, because of their dense heads of foliage, and street trees, since their roots grow deeply enough not to disturb paving. C. lutea is a Yellowwood found in the southeastern U.S. This tree can grow from 30 to 50 feet high. It is clothed with bright green leaves, 8 to 12 inches long, consisting of 7 to 11 leaflets. They turn yellow and orange in the fall. Th…

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

Claret Cup Hedgehog
(Echinocereus) This group consists of about fifty cacti from the southern U.S. and Mexico. These pretty cacti come in a wide range of shapes and colors. Some species form round, spiny mounds and are commonly called Hedgehog Cacti, while others develop thin, rambling stems. The flower buds of these succulents form inside the stems, bursting out near the stem tips in late spring and early summer. The flowers open completely in full sun and come in an array of colors such as yellow, orange, red, pi…

Clarkia
(Farewell-To-Spring, Godetia, Satin Flower) These are hardy annuals of western North America. They are named after Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clarkia's height ranges from 1 to 3 feet. They provide a profusion of flowers that, given favorable conditions, will bloom for quite some time. Clarkias are great for growing in flowerbeds and borders where the summers are cool. They may also be cultivated in greenhouses for blooming in the winter and spring and they provide e…

Cleistocactus
(Silver Torch Cactus) These popular, columnar cacti are found wild from Ecuador and Argentina to Uruguay. These handsome, branching cacti are equipped with white, beige, or gold, needle-like spines. Between spring and fall, most of these cacti bear a profusion of small, vividly colored flowers, which are pollinated by hummingbirds. They are followed by red, yellow, or green berries. C. winteri forms tangled mounds of long, slender, arching stems that are covered in golden spines. This plant reac…

Clematis
(Old Man's Beard, Travelers' Joy) This is a large group of hardy and tender, climbing perennials that grow wild mainly throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are available in a wide variety of shapes and colors. They differ in their habit of growth and the period in which they bloom. They are suitable for climbing over a trellis, tree, or shrubs or for being trained against a wall or porch. The leaves of these vines may be whole, or divided into pointed, oval-lance-sh…

Cleome
(Spider Flower) These are annual herbaceous or semi-shrubby plants that are mostly from tropical and North America. They'll grow 2 to 6 feet high. Their leaves consist of 5 to 7 leaflets, up to 5 inches across and they grow on stiff, spiny stems. The racemes of flowers grow 5 to 6 inches across, are spidery looking and may be pink, rose or cherry rose. These are great plants for flower beds, borders, backgrounds or large pots.…

Clerodendrum
(Glory Bower) This is a large group of deciduous (leaf losing) and evergreen trees and shrubs, including many woody climbers. Most of them grow wild in tropical and subtropical countries, therefore, to grow them successfully in cool climates they must be cultivated in greenhouses having a minimum winter temperature of 60º F. More than a hundred species have been discovered, but only a few are in cultivation. The name is from the Greek kleros, chance, and dendron, a tree, and allude…

Clethra
(Lily Of The Valley Tree, Summersweet, Sweet Pepper Bush, White Alder) This group consists of about sixty evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees found wild in the southern U.S., Central and South America, Madeira, and Southeast Asia. Clethra, commonly known as White Alders, produces clusters of tiny, fragrant, white or pale pink flowers, in the summer. Some varieties have attractive, peeling bark. C. alnifolia (commonly known as Summersweet and Sweet Pepper Bush) is a hardy, deciduous shrub th…

Cleyera
This group consists of about eighteen evergreen trees and shrubs that are mostly native to Mexico and Central America; one species is from eastern Asia. C. japonica var. Tricolor is a tender, slow-growing, dense shrub that can eventually grow up to 10 feet high. This plant produces glossy, dark green leaves whose cream edges are tinged with dark rose when new.…

Clianthus
(Glory Pea, Lobster Claw, Lobster-Claw, Parrotbeak, Parrot's Bill) This group consists of two tender, semi-evergreen shrubs from New Zealand. Their height ranges from 3-6 feet and they produce beautifully colored flowers in May and June. These plants are commonly known as Parrot's Bill, Parrotbeak, Lobster-claw and Glory Pea because of the interesting shape of their gorgeous blossoms. C. puniceus is a vigorous-growing, climbing shrub. It is medium-sized with pretty pinnate leaves, 3 to 6 inches …

Climbing Asparagus
(Asparagus) Asparagus plants are not only a delicious vegetable, but different species can also be lovely as houseplants. The Asparagus officinalis is the botanical name of the garden variety. It grows wild in southern Europe, southwestern England, and southern Ireland. Most of the greenhouse varieties come from South Africa. These are perennial plants with erect stems and tiny branches bearing inconspicuous flowers followed by reddish berries that contain black seeds. They can be grown outdoors…

Clitoria
(Butterfly Pea) These are tender climbing shrubs or herbaceous plants. The tender kinds may be grown outdoors in the South and in the greenhouse. The slender, twining vines may grow 10 to 20 feet in height. The leaves are made of 5 to 7 leaflets, each growing up to 4 inches long. The flowers resemble peas and may be sea blue or white. These are quick covers for lattice, trellis, arbor and chain-link fence.…

Clivia
This group consists of several evergreen plants with bulbous roots. These plants are natives of South Africa and belong to the Amaryllis family, Amaryllidaceae. These plants are suitable for growing as houseplants and outdoors in frost-free climates. Clivias, also known as Kaffir Lilies, produce dark green, strap-like leaves, which grow to about 2 feet long. In late winter or spring, tall stalks shoot up from the leaves and bear clusters of 12 to 20, brightly colored blossoms. Their…

Clock 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.…

Club Gourd
(Trichosanthes) This Gourd, as all other Gourds, belong to the Cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae. Unlike their edible relatives such as Melons, Squashes, Cucumbers and Pumpkins, Gourds are mainly grown for ornament. All are tendril-bearing vines that will sprawl if not supported. T. anguina, the Serpent, Snake, or Club Gourd, is an annual vine with angled, fuzzy, stems and branched tendrils. It is covered with broadly angled or lobed leaves and white flowers. The length of the fruit, which resemble…

Coast Polypodium
(Polypodium) These are leaf-losing (deciduous) and hardy evergreen Ferns that are found in many parts of the world including tropical, semitropical and temperate areas. Some may be cultivated in hothouses and some in cool greenhouses. The bright green leaves are thin and tough and may vary from only a few inches to 6 feet long. They may be pinnate (feathery-divided once), bipinnate (divided twice), or simple (undivided).…

Coastal Myall
(Acacia) This group consists of about 1,000 species that are found in tropical and subtropical regions, especially in Australia and Africa. These evergreens should not be confused with the trees and shrubs commonly known as acacia, which belong to the group Robinia. These tender evergreens are totally different and are commonly known as Mimosas and Wattles. The Australian types are called Wattles because their lumber was used by early settlers in the wattle-and-daub method of building home…

Cob 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. …

Cockscomb
(Celosia) 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.…

Cockspur
(Crataegus) This is a large group of hardy, deciduous trees and a few shrubs that are commonly known as Hawthorns or Thorns; other common names will be mentioned by its tree. Most of the Hawthorns are natives of North America; others are natives of Europe, Asia Minor, China, Japan, the Old World and the Himalayas. Hawthorns are beautiful, flowering trees suitable for shading patios, decorating lawns and lining streets. These hard-wooded trees can be grown in exposed locations as well as tolerate…

Coffee Tree
(Polyscias) This group consists of about 80 tropical shrubs and trees that are native to New Zealand, tropical Asia and the Pacific Islands. They are excellent as houseplants in cold climates and as hedges in very warm ones. These plants are also excellent as Bonsai specimens. These plants are valued for their decorative foliage, which is finely divided and in some species, beautifully variegated. P. fruticosa (Ming Aralia) can grow up to 8 feet high (though it can be kept small by pruning) and …

Collards
(Brassica) This is a group of plants belonging to the Mustard family, Cruciferae. It includes vegetables that are commonly grown and known as Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Rape, Rutabaga and Turnip. Many can be grown for their ornamental leaves.…

Colza
(Brassica) This is a group of plants belonging to the Mustard family, Cruciferae. It includes vegetables that are commonly grown and known as Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Rape, Rutabaga and Turnip. Many can be grown for their ornamental leaves.…

Common Osier
(Salix) Salix is the botanical name for a group of deciduous (leaf-losing) trees and shrubs, which are mostly hardy. They are found wild throughout Europe, northern Africa, Asia, and North America; a few are found in the Southern Hemisphere. Some grow naturally in the arctic and alpine regions. The common name for this group and also the old Latin name is, Willow. Most Willows grow rapidly and are fairly short-lived. Their young stems are flexible and strong, but the old bra…

Common Reed Grass
(Phragmites) These tall, aquatic perennials, commonly known as the Common Reed Grass, are natives of North America and many other regions. P. maxima is an attractive Grass for landscape planting. Growing up to 15 feet high, this variety is too invasive and large for most water gardens. It produces plumed flower heads that can be dried and used for decoration. This plant grows naturally in marshes with brackish or sweet water. P. australis 'Aurea', the Variegated Dwarf Common Reed, is a handsome …

Coneflower
(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…

Coral Berry
(Ardisia) This is a large group of tender, evergreen shrubs and trees. A. crispa has small, dark green, shiny leaves and pinkish-white flowers in the spring. Small plants look lovely in pots when covered with their scarlet berries in the fall. The flowers and berries last a long time, so it's common to see flowers and green and ripe berries at the same time. This plant forms a bush about 4 feet high. It can be grown in a greenhouse that has a minimum winter temperature of 50 degrees, or as a hou…

Coral Blow
(Russelia) These frost-tender, shrubby perennials (Coral Blow) are natives of tropical America and Mexico. They grow 3 feet or more in height with a spread of 2 feet. The tiny, dark green leaves are scale-like, growing on thin, rush-like stems. In the summer and fall, a profusion of small, tubular, scarlet flowers are borne in hanging clusters. Coral Blows are great for hanging baskets.…

Coral Gem
(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.…

Coral Plant
(Berberidopsis) 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.…

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

Corn
(Zea) This is a very popular vegetable known as Corn. Corn is actually a tall annual grass and all kinds, including the three described below, are varieties of a single species, Zea mays. Corn has been a valuable food at least since the Incas cultivated it.…

Cornflower
(Centaurea) 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 that may be single or double. They are great for cut flowers. C. americana is a pretty ann…

Cos Lettuce
(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.…

Cotton Ball
(Espostoa) This group consists of sixteen, columnar cacti from the Andes of southern Ecuador and Peru. In their native habitat, they grow in very rocky soil on the sides of steep valleys, but in cultivation, they grow well in any well-drained soil. Most species are clothed in woolly spines through which longer, sharp spines protrude. After 10 to 30 years, when they reach flowering size, a cephalium, or thick beard of white wool forms on one side of the upper stem. Unpleasant smelling, tubular, l…

Cotton Grass
(Eriophorum) These hardy perennials, commonly known as Cotton Grass, grow wild in boggy places of the Northern Hemisphere. E. angustifolium produces flat, leathery, grass-like leaves from creeping, underground rhizomes. It bears tassels of white flowers that look like tufts of silky cotton, thus the common name. This plant grows up to a foot high. It can be grown on the edge of your water garden, though care must be taken that it doesn't become a nuisance.…

Cottonwood
(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…

Cow Tongue Cactus
(Gasteria) This group of succulent plants is native to South Africa. These plants are commonly known as Ox Tongues, Cow Tongue Cactus and Lawyer's Tongues because of the shape of their leaves. Their long, slender, fleshy leaves form two facing, erect rows when young, with some varieties spiraling into a rosette with age. Their dark green leaves are often spotted, mottled, or striped with white. The name Gasteria is derived from gaster, belly, and refers to the swollen middle of the flower…

Crab Apple Tree
(Malus) Malus is the botanical name for a group of popular trees commonly known as Apple trees and Crab Apple Trees. These small, deciduous trees and shrubs are suitable for growing in the temperate zones. Their lovely, fragrant blossoms are a welcome sight in the spring and the arrival of their delicious and ornamental fruits is anticipated. Below, Crab Apples and Apples will be described separately.…

Crab'S Claw
(Stratiotes) S. aloides, commonly known as Crab's Claw, Water Aloe and Water Soldier, is a hardy, aquatic perennial found wild in various parts of Europe. This plant has small, fleshy, sword-shaped leaves that resemble a floating Pineapple or Aloe plant. Greenish-white, male and female flowers grow on separate plants. When the flowers of this plant die, the plant sinks beneath the water's surface and forms axillary shoots that grow into winter buds. The plant will reappear again in late summer.…

Crambe
(Heartleaf Crambe, Sea Kale) These hardy perennials originate in Asia and Europe and include one, C. maritima, also known as Sea Kale, which is used as a vegetable. C. Cordifolia, Heartleaf Crambe, is a vigorous, many-branched plant with very large, dark green leaves that are heart-shaped and crinkled. The white, 4-petaled flowers are tiny and are borne in large, loose sprays in the summer. The Heartleaf Crambe can grow up to 6 feet high with a spread of 4 feet or more. C. maritima, the Sea Kale…