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


Dicentra
These lovely perennials are found wild in shady hollows and forests from Siberia to Japan. Dicentras are commonly known as Bleeding Hearts. The varieties of these plants range in height from 12 to 30 inches and spread up to 18 inches or more. D. spectabilis var. alba is a clump-forming plant with light green, deeply divided leaves resembling those of the fern. Its pure white, heart-shaped flowers hang pendulous from arching stems in late spring and early summer. It is sometimes hard to distingui…

Dichorisandra
These tender perennials are mainly grown for their ornamental foliage. They are natives to the tropical areas in Peru. D. reginae is an erect, clump-forming variety with large, evergreen, oval leaves that are shiny green, banded and mottled with silver above and purple-red underneath. The small, purple-blue flowers are borne in thick spikes from summer to fall. This plant grows 24 to 30 inches high. D. mosaica has blue and white, smooth, round leafstalks and leaves that have a mosaic pattern of …

Dichromena
(Star Grass) This tender, aquatic Sedge is commonly known as Star Grass. It grows from 12 to 18 inches high and produces tufts of bright green stems, which are topped with white, star-shaped flower bracts.…

Dicksonia
(Man Fern, Soft Tree Fern) These Ferns, commonly called Man Fern, Soft Tree Fern and Tree Fern, are found in tropical America, New Zealand and Australia. These Ferns can reach a height of 40 feet with a spread of 12 feet. D. antarctica is a trunk-forming Fern that grows up to 30 feet high. It has evergreen or semi-evergreen, long, arching fronds that are divided into linear segments. They are pale green when young and turn dark green as they age. The fronds grow up to 10 feet long. This plant is…

Dictamnus
These hardy perennials are originally from southwest Europe, south and central Asia, Korea and China. These plants are commonly called Burning Bushes because, in aridweather, a flammable oil exudes from the leaves and seedpods and if a flame is placed near, will sometimes ignite without damaging the plant. Other common names include Gas Plant, Dittany and Fraxinella. D. albus is an erect plant growing up to 3 feet high with a spread of 2 feet. The fragrant, light green leaves are divided in lanc…

Dieffenbachia
This group consists of about 30 tropical perennials native to Costa Rica, Columbia, Brazil, Puerto Rico and the West Indies. These plants are popularly grown as houseplants because of their beautiful foliage; however, care must be taken, as they are very poisonous (*See Note below*). Dumb Cane (the common name) is one of the easiest plants to grow. They have cane-like stems and can grow about 4 feet high. Their large leaves may be oval with pointed tips or long and narrow and their bases …

Digitalis
This group of perennials is commonly known as Foxglove. Some of these beautiful plants are found in the woods and near streams of central Europe and some are found in the woods, scrub, and rocky places in Turkey. These plants grow from 30 inches to 4 feet high with a spread of 1 foot. D. ferruginea forms rosettes of olive to medium-green, narrowly oval leaves. Its funnel-shaped flowers are pale golden-brown and white. They are borne in thick, spires in mid-summer. Although this plant is a perenn…

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

Dimorphotheca
(Cape Marigold, Star Of The Veldt) 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 wit…

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

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

Dionaea
(Venus Flytrap) This tender, insectivorous perennial is popularly known as the Venus Flytrap. It grows up to 4 inches high and spreads up to a foot. The Venus Flytrap is found wild in the bogs of North and South Carolina. D. muscipula has evergreen, 2-lobed leaves, which are hinged at the midrib. They are stained pink with touch-sensitive bristles inside and edged with long, stiff bristles. When an insect lands in the leaves, the lobes close together tightly. The insects are then dissolved by th…

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

Diospyros
(Date Plum, Persimmon) These deciduous, easily grown trees, commonly known as Persimmons, are valued for their hard, dark brown or black heartwood, for the edible fruits and for their beauty. Their delicious, sweet and juicy fruits should only be eaten when they are ripe; otherwise, they have an offensive, bitter flavor. The fruits ripen in the fall, usually after a light frost. They can, however, be picked and placed in a plastic bag with a ripe apple for two to four days. The ethylene gas emit…

Dipelta
This group consists of only four deciduous, large shrubs native to China. D. floribunda is a rare, large shrub growing from 6 to 12 feet high. This shrub produces beautiful, bell-shaped, fragrant blossoms in late spring. The 11/2-inch long flowers are rosy-pink with yellow throats.…

Diplarrhena
D. moraea forms clumps of long, thin medium green leaves. Its small, fragrant flowers consist of three rounded petals, which are white, and the centers are yellow and purple. They are borne atop wiry stems in early summer. They somewhat resemble Irises. This plant grows up to 18 inches high with a spread of 9 inches. D. moraea is originally from Tasmania and southeast Australia. This perennial is only hardy outdoors in mild climates.…

Dipteronia
This group consists of two large, deciduous shrubs found wild in central and southern China. They are related to the Maple, though they differ in that the fruits are winged all around instead of just one side. D. sinensis is a shrub with handsome, large, pinnate leaves. The unnoticeable flowers are followed by large bunches of decorative, light green seeds that eventually turn red.…

Disporum
Disporums (Fairy Bells or Fairy Lanterns) are perennials from North America and Japan. D. smithii is a spreading plant with oval to lance-shaped, mid-green leaves, which are heart-shaped at the base. The small, drooping flowers are tubular-bell-shaped. They are produced singly or in terminal clusters of 2 to 6, in the spring. They are white tipped with green. The flowers are followed by oval, orange-red berries. This plant grows from 12 to 14 inches high with a spread of 2 feet or more. It is fo…

Doronicum
Doronicums (Leopard's Bane) are perennials native to various parts of Europe. D. pardalianches forms clumps of heart-shaped, fuzzy, bright green leaves and small, golden yellow flowers, which resemble Daisies, atop thin, branching stems, in late spring. It grows about 30 inches high and spreads 2 feet. D. 'Miss Mason' grows 18 inches high and forms clumps of dark green, heart-shaped flowers that have serrated edges. Its daisy-like flowers are borne singly on a stem above the foliage in mid- to l…

Doryanthes
(Spear Lily) These tender perennials, known as Spear Lilies, are natives to Australia. They may be grown outdoors in warm regions; otherwise, they should be grown indoors. D. palmeri grows from 6 to 8 feet high with a spread of 8 feet. Its leaves are arching, sword-shaped, fleshy and green. They grow up to 6 feet long. The small flowers are produced intermittently in compact panicles. They have red bracts and are orange-red and white inside.…

Dorycnium
(Canary Clover) 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 …

Dove Tree
(Davidia) This very attractive, deciduous tree is a native of China. This tree grows from 20 to 40 feet high with its branches spreading a distance to match. It is fairly hardy, living in areas where the temperature doesn't fall below -10º F. It produces 3- to 6-inch, heart-shaped, long-stalked leaves that are covered with white fuzz on their undersides. This tree is commonly known as Dove Tree because of its interesting flowers. In the spring, 1-inch, ball-shaped, clusters of flowers are produc…

Dregea
This group consists of three deciduous climbers from the warm regions of the Old World. D. sinensis is the hardiest variety, though it must still be grown where temperatures do not fall below 20º to 30º F. Its slender stems grow up to 10 feet long and are covered with ovate-shaped, bright green leaves that have gray-down beneath. In the summer, downy umbels of fragrant, white flowers are produced. They are spotted with red in the center.…

Drimys
(Pepper Tree, Winter's Bark) This is a group of tender, evergreen trees and shrubs originally from eastern Australia, New Guinea, Central and South America, and Malaysia. D. lanceolata (Pepper Tree) is a medium-sized to large, fragrant, erect-growing shrub with purplish-red shoots and dark green leaves that are light green underneath. Its young shoots are tinted with copper. White male and female flowers are produced on separate plants. They are abundantly produced from mid- to late spring. D. w…

Drosera
(Spoon-Leaf Sundew, Sundew) These tender perennials (Sundew) are very interesting, insectivorous plants found wild in bogs from southern Japan to eastern China and south to New Zealand. Sundews may grow up to 8 inches high and from May to August, produce thin, leafless stalks, 6 to 12 inches long, of white, crimson, or pink flowers. One flower opens each day, starting with the lowest flower, and can pollinate itself by the afternoon. D. spathulata, the Spoon-leaf Sundew, grows up to 3 inches hig…

Drunkard'S Dream
(Hatiora) There is only one commonly grown cactus of this group of Brazilian epiphytes; H. salicornioides is commonly called Drunkard's Dream and Spice Cactus. This small, epiphytic shrub forms a tall, profusely branching stem up to 16 inches high from which numerous shoots grow. The pendent, leafless shoots, which can grow over 6 inches long, are made up of bottle-shaped joints. If the plant is given bright light, the more slender portion of the joint will be shorter and the shoots will take on…

Dryas
(Mount Washington Dryad, Mountain Avens, Suendermann Dryad) This group consists of two hardy, creeping plants native to North America, Europe and Asia. Commonly known as Mountain Avens, these dwarf perennials are suitable for growing in the rock garden, scree, over paving, and the top of stone walls. They have crinkled, evergreen, oak-like, glossy dark green leaves that are grayish-green underneath. D. octopetala (Mount Washington Dryad) is a mat-forming variety that produces tons of cup-shaped,…

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

Duck Potato
(Sagittaria) These hardy and tender, bog and aquatic plants are commonly known as Arrowhead. They are great for the perimeter of pools and water gardens and for tanks or tubs in the greenhouse. The leaves are shaped like an arrowhead, thus the common name, and they produce tall spikes of pretty, white flowers, ½- to 1-inch in diameter, from June to October. S. sagittifolia, Common Arrowhead, is a hardy variety native to Europe and Asia. It produces underground tubers that are eaten in the Orient…

Duckweed
(Lemna) These aquatic plants are found all over the world. L. minor, known as Duckweed, is a tiny plant that floats on top of the water. It produces light green leaves, which have only a single root. Duckweed spreads rapidly and if not controlled will become a nuisance. This plant is eaten by fish and waterfowl, which help to keep its rapid growth in check. Duckweed prefers cooler temperatures and may disappear over hot summer months, but return when temperatures cool down again. L. trisulca, St…

Dulichium
(Water Bamboo) This aquatic plant is commonly known as Water Bamboo. Though it doesn't belong to the Bamboo family, it does resemble the plant. This plant can grow 2 feet high or more. It has slender, green leaves and tiny, unnoticeable flowers during the summer.…

Dusty Miller
(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…

Dutchman'S Pipe
(Aristolochia) This group consists of hardy and tender, evergreen and deciduous shrubs, climbing plants, and herbaceous plants, which are mainly from warmer climates. The hardy kinds grow wild in California and other areas in the south. Those that are from Brazil, Guatemala, West Africa and other tropical countries can be cultivated in a greenhouse. Some have huge flowers and some are grown for their ornamental foliage. Some of these plants give off a rather foul odor as a way to attract the ins…

Dutchmen'S Pipe
(Aristolochia) This group consists of hardy and tender, evergreen and deciduous shrubs, climbing plants, and herbaceous plants, which are mainly from warmer climates. The hardy kinds grow wild in California and other areas in the south. Those that are from Brazil, Guatemala, West Africa and other tropical countries can be cultivated in a greenhouse. Some have huge flowers and some are grown for their ornamental foliage. Some of these plants give off a rather foul odor as a way to attract the ins…

Dwarf Apple Australian
(Angophora) Seven species of trees and shrubs all Australia.…

Dwarf Fan Palm
(Chamaerops) This group consists of only one tender, evergreen plant, native of Southwestern Europe and Northern Africa. C. humilis, commonly known as the Dwarf Fan Palm, is a dwarf Palm that grows over mountainsides along the shores of its native environment. The Dwarf Fan Palm rarely grows over 5 feet high, ordinarily forming a shrubby, multi-stemmed mass, though some have grown with a short trunk. Its large, fan-shaped leaves average 3 to 4 feet in length, are deeply divided and have very sti…

Dyers' Greenweed
(Genista) This group consists of about eighty evergreen and deciduous, hardy and tender shrubs or small trees that are natives of Europe, western Asia, and North Africa. These plants, commonly known as Brooms, have whip-like branches and green branchlets that are sparsely covered with foliage. The masses of pea-like flowers are produced from late spring to late summer, depending on the variety. Brooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes that are suitable for many uses, such as in a small rock …

Eagle Claws
(Echinocactus) This group consists of six cacti native to Mexico and the southwestern U.S. These globular- to barrel-shaped plants (Hedgehog Cactus) vary in size from small plants only 41/2 inches wide to giants 3 feet wide and 61/2 feet high, weighing more than 2,200 pounds. These plants produce a ring of open-faced flowers on the plant's crown ranging in color from golden yellow to purplish-red. These cacti are suitable for growing in containers in a greenhouse or home and as landscape plants.…

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

Earth Almond
(Cyperus) These tender, aquatic perennials are grown for their decorative foliage. They are natives of Palestine, Brazil, S. Africa, Europe and North America. C. alternifolius (Umbrella Plant; Nile Grass) produces clumps of long stems, 1 to 3 feet normally, but up to 5 feet in excellent conditions; these are crowned with long, slender, radiating, dark green leaves like an umbrella, thus the common name. Its variety, variegatus, has green and white leaves. Small, brown or green, fuzzy flowers are…

Easter Lily 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. …

Eccremocarpus
(Chilean Glory Flower) This group consists of about five tender, evergreen, climbing plants from Chile. E. scaber (Chilean Glory Flower) is a climbing plant that quickly grows up to 16 feet long. Its stems are covered with bipinnate leaves that end in a slender, coiling tendril, which allows the plant to climb. The tube-shaped, 1-inch flowers are scarlet to orange or yellow. They are borne in clusters continually throughout the summer and fall.…

Echinacea
These hardy perennials are from North America and belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. E. purpurea, the Purple Coneflower, is an upright growing plant with dark green, lance-shaped leaves. It produces large, daisy-like cerise crimson flowers with a domed brown center. These are borne one to a stem during the summer. This plant grows up to 4 feet high and spreads about 20 inches or so. The flowers are great for cutting.…

Echinocactus
(Eagle Claws, Golden Barrel, Hedgehog Cactus, Mexican Giant Barrel, Mother-In-Law's Chair, Mule Crippler) This group consists of six cacti native to Mexico and the southwestern U.S. These globular- to barrel-shaped plants (Hedgehog Cactus) vary in size from small plants only 41/2 inches wide to giants 3 feet wide and 61/2 feet high, weighing more than 2,200 pounds. These plants produce a ring of open-faced flowers on the plant's crown ranging in color from golden yellow to purplish-red. These ca…

Echinocereus
(Claret Cup Hedgehog, Cylinder Bells, Hedgehog Cacti, Lace Cactus, Porcupine Hedgehog, Rainbow Cactus, Strawberry Cactus) 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 sum…

Echinodorus
(Melon Sword) E. radican var. Marble Queen is an aquatic perennial, commonly known as Melon Sword. It has large, medium green leaves mottled with creamy white to pale yellow patches. In the summer, small flowers resembling those of Sagittaria, are produced on top of arching stems; they are light purple fading to pink. This plant grows up to 3 feet high.…

Echinops
(Globe Thistle) These hardy perennials are commonly known as the Globe Thistle. They form clumps of deeply divided, spiny leaves, which are gray-green above and fuzzy-white beneath. They produce round, compact heads of tiny pale blue or grayish-white flowers, resembling thistles, atop gray-white stems in late summer. They are natives of southern and central Europe to Russia.…

Echinopsis
(Barrel Cactus, Cob Cactus, Easter Lily Cactus, Peanut Cactus, Sea-Urchin Cactus, Shining Ball) 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…

Edgeworthia
(Mitsumata, Paper Bush) This group consists of two tender, semi-evergreen or deciduous shrubs native to China and the Himalayas. E. chrysantha (Paper Bush, Mitsumata) is a deciduous plant that grows 4 to 5 feet high. In late winter this plant produces thick, nodding clusters of scented, yellow flowers, which are covered on the outside with silky hairs. This variety is used in Japan to make high quality banknote paper.…

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

Egyptian Paper Reed
(Cyperus) These tender, aquatic perennials are grown for their decorative foliage. They are natives of Palestine, Brazil, S. Africa, Europe and North America. C. alternifolius (Umbrella Plant; Nile Grass) produces clumps of long stems, 1 to 3 feet normally, but up to 5 feet in excellent conditions; these are crowned with long, slender, radiating, dark green leaves like an umbrella, thus the common name. Its variety, variegatus, has green and white leaves. Small, brown or green, fuzzy flowers are…

Eichhornia
(Water Hyacinth) These tender, aquatic perennials, commonly known as Water Hyacinths are natives of South America. These pretty plants easily reproduce and can become a huge nuisance if care is not taken. In some states they are illegal to sell and it is illegal to transport them from state to state. Water Hyacinths multiply so quickly that they can choke lakes, rivers and canals. E. crassipes has rosettes of shiny green, bulbous leaves. The leaves are kept afloat by air pockets in the bulbous a…

Elaegnus
(Oleaster, Russian Olive, Silverberry) This is a group of evergreen and deciduous trees or large shrubs commonly known as Oleasters. Oleasters make gorgeous lawn ornaments and are able to withstand city living. E. angustifolia, the Russian Olive, is a vigorous growing tree native to Asia and Europe. This tree usually has more than one trunk that eventually becomes gnarled and covered with dark brown, shaggy bark. This variety, when grown as a single-trunked tree, can grow up to 25 feet high. It …

Eleocharis
(Chinese Water Chestnut, Hair Grass, Spike Rush, Water Chestnut) 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 R…

Elephant Bush
(Portulacaria) This is a succulent bush with thick, gray or brownish stems and fat, tender, bright green leaves that are very small. It can grow 12-20 feet tall. Its pale pink flowers grow in little clusters. Even when small, this plant makes a handsome foliage plant.…

Elephant Cactus
(Pachycereus) This group consists of twelve, columnar-shaped cacti native to parts of the southern United States and Mexico. This group contains some of the largest-growing cacti; they range in height from 13 to 42 feet. Some have solitary stems but many branch to form clumps or even trees. Mature plants that are 6 to 15 years old bear flowers. The blossoms are funnel-shaped and tinged with white or pink. They only open at night and are produced at the stem tips in spring to early summer. They a…

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

Elephant'S Ears
(Kalanchoe) This large group consisting of succulent plants is found in subtropical and tropical countries throughout the world. These plants vary greatly; they range from leafy succulents to huge tree-like plants. The shapes, sizes and colors of the leaves are as equally diverse; some have whole or toothed edges, and some may be smooth or very fuzzy. Some species make excellent houseplants. In early spring or fall, bell-shaped flowers that may be white, red, purple, yellow, orange, or bro…

Eleutherococcus
This group consists of about fifty deciduous trees and shrubs native to the East and Southeast. E. sieboldianus Variegatus is a hardy, medium-sized shrub with many upright, cane-like stems and bunches of large leaves consisting of three or five leaflets edged with white. Each cluster has a small, curved thorn at its base. In late spring, umbels of greenish-white flowers are produced. These are followed by clusters of black fruits.…

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

Elm Tree
(Ulmus) Ulmus is the botanical name for the Elm Tree. These trees are found in Europe, Asia, the Himalayas and northward, and North America, east of the Rocky Mountains and as far south as northern Mexico. Elms may form small trees or bushes, or very large trees growing from 90 to 200 feet high. They are widely used as shade trees. The small flowers of the Elms contain both stamens and pistils and are usually a purplish color. The seeds are centered in a flat, papery disk. They ripen during earl…

Elodea
(Canadian Pondweed) 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.…

Elsholtzia
(Staunton Elsholtzia) This group consists of about thirty aromatic herbs and deciduous sub-shrubs from Europe, Asia and Ethiopia. E. stauntonii (Staunton Elsholtzia) is a small, hardy sub-shrub that grows from 3 to 6 feet high. Its rounded stems are covered with lance-shaped leaves that smell minty when crushed. From late summer to mid-fall, inflorescences of lilac-purple flowers are produced. This shrub may die down to the ground in the winter, especially at the limit of its range, but it usual…

Emerald Ripple
(Peperomia) These tropical perennials are grown for their ornamental foliage. They are mostly natives of tropical America. They are compact and small and usually do not exceed 12' in height. They vary considerably in appearance. Some have threadlike, trailing stems and some have fleshy, stout stems. The leaves are smooth and fleshy and may be oval with the leafstalk at or near the center of the leaf blade, or they may be heart-shaped or lance-shaped; their size may vary from 1-4 inches long. The…

Emilia
(Flora's Paintbrush, Tassel Flower) These are pretty annuals originally from India. They grow 1½ to 2 feet high and bear orange-scarlet, red or yellow, brush-like flowers; they grow up to an inch across. The leaves grow from the base in clusters up to 6 inches high. Picking off the dead flowers increases their production. These plants provide lovely cut flowers.…

Empress Tree
(Paulownia) These deciduous trees are natives of China. They are valued for their handsome foliage and beautiful blossoms. P. tomentosa, commonly known as Empress Tree and Royal Paulownia, is a very quick-growing tree when young, sometimes growing 8 feet in its first year of growth. The Empress Tree will ultimately reach a height of 35 to 40 feet. The huge leaves of this tree range from 5 to 12 inches long and 8 inches wide, but on rapidly-growing stems or young trees, they can reach a length of…

Epaulette Tree
(Pterostyrax) The deciduous trees or large shrubs are native to China and Japan. P. hispida, commonly known as the Epaulette Tree or Wisteria Tree, can be grown as a bush with a height of up to 12 feet or a tree, growing up to 50 feet high. The Epaulette Tree is covered in oblong leaves up to 8 inches in length. These trees begin to blossom when they are 8 to 10 feet high. In early summer, fragrant, creamy white flowers are borne in suspended clusters 4 to 9 inches long. These are followed by fu…

Epilobium
These hardy perennials are found wild in Asia, Europe and North America. These plants could become a weedy pest in gardens because they spread rapidly from self-sown seeds. E. angustifolium, the Willow Herb or Fireweed, is an upright, vigorous plant that is suitable for planting by the waterside or wild garden. It grows 4 to 5 feet high and has slender, lance-shaped, dark green leaves with wavy margins. In late summer, they produce spikes of small, rose-purple, 4-petaled flowers. The variety alb…

Epiphyllum
This popular group consists of 16 species of epiphytic cacti, which are found in jungles from Mexico to northern South America. Commonly known as Orchid Cacti and Strap Cacti, these succulents bear gorgeous blossoms along their flat, scalloped-edged, leaf-like stems. These plants are excellent for hanging baskets because their long, pendulous stems grow over the edges of the container. In their native habitats, these epiphytes hang from the trees and can reach a length of up to 200 feet! M…

Episcia
(Flame Violet, Lace Flower) These creeping, tropical perennials are natives of Brazil, Colombia, Guinea, and Surinam. They make great plants for hanging baskets. E. lilacina has reddish-purple, velvety leaves and pale lilac or lavender flowers. E. reptans has puckered, brownish-green leaves that are marked with silvery green. They produce scarlet flowers that are fringed along the borders. E. dianthiflora, the Lace flower, is a beautiful plant with thick, oval, velvety dark green leaves that are…

Epithelantha
(Button Cactus) The succulents in this group are slow growing, dwarf cacti. They are natives of the western U.S. and Mexico and are found growing in shallow soil on rocky hillsides. E. micromeris (Button Cactus) is a tiny, globular species that will reach a height of only 4 inches and make clusters up to 51/2 inches wide. Its pale green body is covered with small, white spines. The Button Cactus will flower when it is only 3/4-inch high. From early spring to mid-summer, tiny, white to pale pink …

Equisetum
(Horsetail Rush, Scouring Rush) These hardy perennials are commonly known as Horsetail Rush or Scouring Rush. These plants grow wild in North America and are suited for planted at the edge of the water garden. E. hyemale grows up to 4 feet high. It has hollow, bright green, furrowed stems that are banded with black; they resemble little Bamboo plants. Male plants produce a brownish pollen cone on their tips and female plants bear spikelet-like growths on their tips. E. scorpoides, the Dwarf Hors…

Eranthis
This group consists of seven low-growing (3 to 6 inches), hardy, deciduous plants, which grow from tubers. Commonly known as Winter Aconite, these plants bloom in the winter or early spring; they even bloom before Crocuses emerge. Winter Aconites grow wild in the woodlands of Europe and Asia and belong to the Buttercup family, Ranunculceae. The flowers emerge before the foliage and brighten winter's gloomy days. Each stem is crowned with a bright yellow or white, cup-shaped flower, which i…

Eremurus
This group consists of 35 to 40 deciduous perennials whose rhizomatous roots resemble the shape of a starfish or an octopus. These hardy perennials are native to western and central Asia. These plants are commonly known as Foxtail Lilies, King's Spears, Desert Candles and Giant Asphodels. Foxtail Lilies produce tufts of slender, strap-like, bright green leaves. In late spring or early summer, compact spikes consisting of tiny snow white, pastel pink, copper, bright yellow or orange flower…

Erica
(Heather) This group consists of more than 500, evergreen plants ranging in size from dwarf shrubs to small trees, native to Europe, Turkey, and Africa, especially South Africa. The foliage of these plants come in a wide variety of colors including gold, silver, red, gray, and an unlimited range of greens, from olive to lime. They bear delicate, bell-shaped flowers in an array of colors from snow white to lavender to scarlet. These plants are commonly known as Heaths and Heathers. These common n…

Erigeron
Erigerons are hardy perennials found wild in northwestern America, eastern Europe, and other various parts of the world. These plants, also known as Fleabanes and Summer Starworts, range in height between the varieties from 18 to 32 inches. E. 'White Quakeress' is a pretty plant with lance- to spoon-shaped, grayish-green leaves. During the summer, tons of daisy-like flowers with thin, pure white petals and greenish-yellow centers are produced. E. 'Dignity' forms clumps of lance- to spoon-shaped,…

Eriobotrya
(Japanese Plum, Loquat) This is an evergreen tree, known as the Loquat, valued for its fruit and decorative foliage and flowers. A native of China and Japan, it will grow at least 20 feet high. Their leaves are 9 to 12 inches long and 3-5 inches wide. They are green on top and grayish or brown underneath. When they are young they are covered with gray fuzz. They bear small, white flowers followed by an edible, yellow fruit. Loquats flower in autumn or early winter and their fruits ripen in late …

Eriophorum
(Cotton Grass) 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.…

Eriophyllum
These pretty perennials are found growing wild in dry scrub in the foothills and mountains of western North America. E. lanatum forms thick clumps of finely divided leaves that are silvery gray and white woolly beneath. The star-shaped, Daisy-like, brilliant yellow flowers are produced singly on strong, thin stems over a long period in the summer. E. caespitosum has green leaves and pretty yellow flowers.…

Eriosyce
These cacti are natives of Chile. The stem shape varies from short and tuberous to short and columnar, eventually becoming decumbent. These plants are suitable for growing in containers in a greenhouse or window garden. E. imitans forms a dark, flattened stem slowly growing atop a thick, underground taproot. This species only grows a few centimeters high and 31/4 inches wide. In early summer, shiny, creamy yellow flowers are borne. They are about 13/4 inches wide. E. senilis is an interesting pl…

Eruca
(Arugula, Rocket-Salad, Roquette, Rucola, Rugula) This is a cold tolerant vegetable grown for its foliage. It is known as Argula, Rocket Salad, Roquette, Rucola and Rugula. It has deeply toothed leaves and looks a bit like slender, short-topped turnip greens. Its strong scent and flavor resemble peanuts. This plant belongs to the Mustard family, Cruciferae.…

Eryngium
These hardy perennials, commonly known as Sea Holly or Eryngo, are natives of the damp grasslands of South America. They grow from 5 to 6 feet high and spread up to 2 feet. They produce evergreen, sword-shaped, gray-green leaves that have spines at the edges. In late summer they produce small, rounded flowers, resembling thistles, on branched stems. The dried flowers are very useful for winter arrangements. Cut them before they are completely open. The flowers of E. eburneum are green with white…

Erysimum
This group includes perennials, annuals and biennials. They are originally from Europe, Asia Minor and North America. The name Erysimum is derived from eryo, to draw, and refers to the plants alleged ability to produce blisters. Two kinds of Erysimum will be described; they are both perennials. E. 'Bowles' Mauve' is a bushy plant that grows up to 30 inches high with a spread of 18 inches or more. The grayish-green leaves of this plant are evergreen and narrowly lance-shaped. In the spring…

Erythronium
This group consists of 25hardy, deciduous perennials, which grow from corms. They are natives of Europe, Asia, but mostly of North American woodlands. They are suitable for growing in woodland gardens, shady flowerbeds, rock gardens and containers. They are commonly known as Adder's Tongues, Fawn Lilies, Trout Lilies and Dog's Tooth Violets. They get the first three names from the handsomely dappled foliage, which begins to uncurl in February. The last name was given to E. dens-canis, a v…

Escallonia
This group consists of about forty, mostly evergreen, shrubs and small treesnative to South America. They usually reach a height ranging from 5 to 8 feet unless they're grown in warm, seaside regions, where they'll be taller. These tender plants flower in the summer, autumn and even early winter. They have tiny leaves and an abundance of colorful, small flowers. These plants are tolerant of wind and salty spray, making them excellent for growing near the coast. E. 'C.F. Ball' is an evergreen shr…

Espostoa
(Cotton Ball, Peruvian Old Man, Peruvian Snow Ball, Snowball Cactus) 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 o…

Eucalyptus
(Gum Tree, Iron Bark, Ironbark) This group consists of more than 400, quick-growing, tender, evergreen trees and some shrubs native to Tasmania and Australia. These unique trees can grow to giganticproportions; some species can reach heights over 400 feet in their native habitats and up to 200 feet in California. Eucalyptus trees, also popularly known as Gum trees because some species exude a gum, are fragrant and normally pest-resistant. These trees have leathery, smooth, lance-shaped leaves, w…

Eucomis
This group consists of 10 deciduous, tender, perennial bulbs from South Africa. They are suitable for growing outdoors where temperatures stay above 10º F. Elsewhere they look charming when grown in containers or the bulbs may be dug up and stored for the winter. Pineapple Lilies, as they are commonly known, produce basal rosettes of strap-like, arching leaves. The leaves of some species have wavy edges. Tall flower stalks, reaching two to three feet in height, grow from the foliage in th…

Eucryphia
(Leatherwood) This group consists of five tender, evergreen and deciduous trees or shrubsnative of South America and Australia. These plants produce attractive white flowers with noticeable yellow stamens, from mid-summer to early fall, once they are a few years old. The flowers have four petals and grow up to 21/2 inches long. E. cordifolia is a large, evergreen shrub or, in good conditions, a broad, columnar tree up to 40 feet high. Its oblong leaves have wavy edges and are usually heart-shape…

Eugenia
This group consists of about 1,000 species of slow-growing, broadleaf, evergreen shrubs and trees, which are suitable for growing as dense hedges. They are mostly natives of tropical America. They have simple, shiny green leaves arranged opposite each other on the branches. They bear spikes of flowers having numerous stamens. These are followed by fleshy fruits, some types of which are edible. E. uniflora (Surinam Cherry; Pitanga) forms a shrub or small tree up to 20 feet high. The entire,…

Eulalia
(Miscanthus) These ornamental Grasses are natives of Japan and China. The variegated kinds make lovely potted plants in 5- or 6-inch pots. M. sinensis Zebrinus (Zebra Grass) forms tufts of long, arching, linear leaves. They are bluish green with yellow or creamy-white horizontal bands. In early fall, fan-shaped heads of tiny, white flowers are borne. This plant grows up to 4 feet high. M. sinensis Gracillimus has long, thin, arching leaves that are bluish-green with a white midrib, usually tinge…

Euonymus
(Broadleaf Euonymus, Burning Bush, Burnng Bush, Spindletree, Strawberry Bush, Wahoo, Winged Euonymus, Winter Creeper) This group consists of 170 evergreen and deciduous shrubs, small trees, creepers and climbers. Euonymus (Spindletree) are found wild throughout North and Central America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. These plants make great hedges, edging, and ground covers. The deciduous varieties are valued for their vividly colored fruits and gorgeous autumn colors. The evergreen types…

Eupatorium
(Boneset, Hardy Ageratum, Hardy Agertum, Joe Pye Weed, Misty Flower, Thoroughwort, White Snakeroot) These hardy and frost tender perennials and shrubs are found in North and South America, Europe and Asia and are grown mainly for their flowers, though some are valued for their ornamental foliage. The name commemorates Mithridates Eupator, King of Pontus, who is credited with discovering that one of the varieties could be used as a remedy for poison. E. purpureum (Joe Pye Weed) is a vigorous grow…

Euphorbia
(Candelilla, Corn Cob Cactus, Crown Of Thorns, Dragon Bones, Lobster Flower, Medusa's Head, Mexican Fire Plant, Milkbush, Pencil Cactus, Poinsettia, Scarlet Plume, Snow-On-The-Mountain, Spurge) These plants come in a wide assortment of shapes. Some resemble Cacti, forming almost leafless, green, spindly stems with small flowers at the ends, some are boring weeds, a few would accent the herbaceous border, some are lovely flowering shrubs and some have tree-like growth. Euphorbias contain a milky-…

Euryale
(Gorgon Plant, Prickly Water Lily) This aquatic perennial is a native of India and China. E. ferox, commonly known as the Prickly Water Lily or Gorgon Plant, is a floating plant with large (4 to 5 feet across), deeply veined, flat leaves. It produces cup-shaped flowers consisting of 23 or 24 petals. They are deep violet with an outer row of white petals. Sharp spines cover the surface of the sepals and stems and also both sides of the leaves. Although perennial in tropical climates, it is usuall…

Eustoma
(Lisianthus) This is an erect plant that grows 1 to 2½ feet high. Its waxy, blue-green foliage is ovate or oblong and grows up to 3 inches long. The mainly grow toward the base of the plant. The beautiful flowers may be single or double and they resemble Canterbury bells and tulips. They grow 2 to 3 inches across and are colored blue, white, pink, lavender or rose and are often bicolored.…

Everglade Palm
(Paurotis) This handsome Palm has several common names including Saw Palmetto, Saw Cabbage Palm, Silver Saw Palm and Everglade Palm. This tree is a native of Florida, the West Indies and Central America. It grows from 30 to 40 feet in height and has nearly round leaves that grow 2 or 3 feet across. They are green above and silvery underneath.…

Everlasting
(Xeranthemum) These annuals are found wild in southern Europe. They branch out a lot and grow 1 to 2 feet high. The oblong to lanceolate-shaped, silvery leaves grow up to 2 inches long. The dry, papery flowers are shiny and may be single or double. They grow up to 2 inches across and may be white, rose, or pink. The flowers may be used for drying. They should be cut when the buds begin to open. If they are left to dry on the plant, they turn tan or light brown.…

Everlasting Flower
(Helichrysum) This is a large group that includes annuals, herbaceous perennials and shrubs. The annuals are the most popular, for their flowers are cut and dried for winter decoration; they are found wild in Australia. They grow 2 to 3 feet high and have oblong or lanceolate leaves up to 5 inches long. Their flowers are 2 to 3 inches across and resemble daisies. The petals are dry and shiny and come in almost every color except blue. They should be cut just before they fully open when they are …

Everlasting Pea
(Lathyrus) These hardy annuals and perennials may be climbing or bushy. The climbing vines grow up to 6 feet high and the dwarf bushy kinds, 1 to 2 feet high. They are mostly from southern and eastern Europe. These plants are clothed with medium- or blue-green, paired leaflets that grow up to 2 inches. The flowers grow up to 2 inches across, 1 to 4 per stem. They may be rose, red, maroon, pink, white, yellow or blue and some are bicolored; they are also fragrant. The Perennial or Everlasting Pea…