Saturday, 5 January 2013

Design for print and web/ ISTD/ Plant facts

Types of plants:
Here are our different types of plants, as they are sorted on Discover Plants. You may notice some categories are not actually scientific, or botanical, classifications.
For example, the term 'vegetables' is only a culinary term, not an actual plant type. Same for 'fruits', but to a lesser extent. We have separated our types of plants by how people commonly refer to them.

Cacti (Cactus)
Cactus plants are well adapted to hot and dry weather by storing water in their succulent stems. They are also known for their spines, for which they are famous.

Flowers are the reproductive part of angiosperms, also known as flowering plants. Look through our Flower information for details about specific flowers.

Herbs are used for culinary, medicinal and spiritual uses. In cuisine, the leaves of the herb are normally the only part used. All parts of herbs are used in various medical or spiritual practices.

Shrubs and Bushes
Usually under 6 m tall, shrubs and bushes are categorised as woody plants. Shrubs have multiple stems and many are covered with flowers of all shapes and sizes.

Trees are everywhere in the world. Trees are tall, large and some are very old. Trees are important in fighting soil erosion and responsible for the clean oxygen we breathe.

The term 'vegetable' is not actually a scientific classification of a plant, but rather strictly a culinary term. Vegetables are parts of plants (flower buds, seeds, stems, fruits, etc) that are edible and used in culinary dishes.


Plant terminology:

An achene is a simple dry fruit grown by many flowering plants. They do not open at maturity and are grown from one carpel.
These types of plants have a two year life cycle. The plant grows the first year, and flowers or grows fruits during the second year.
A bract is a specialized leaf that is normally part of the reproductive part of the plant. Some bracts attract pollinators by being brightly colored.
This term refers to soil which has a high level of calcium carbonate. This content makes the soil very alkaline.
The word calyx is used as a collective term for the sepals of a flower.
When there is a nutrient deficiency that causes a plant to fail to produce chlorophyll, a yellowing of the plants tissue can occur, and the plant if referred to as being chlorotic.
The corolla is the overall structure of all the petals of the flower.
A season's yield of a plant that is grown in large quantities. Crops are usually grown as food for sale in grocery markets, but also can be grown for livestock feed and for fuel.
Originally the term culm referred to a stem of any kind. It now refers to an above ground stem.
A cultivar results from the cross-breeding of plants, which results in a new subspecies, or cultivar (hybrid).
A cyme is a variation of the arrangement of flowers on a plant.
A deciduous plant is one that loses its leaves seasonally. Loss of leaves normally is in conjunction with a seasonal weather change, such as winter.
This is when flowers of a plant are one sex only, and require a second plant with flowers of the opposite sex to reproduce.
When a plant is said to be 'endemic', it means it is confined, restricted, or found only in a particular location.
Frost Tender
Plants that are said to be 'frost tender' can not survive in any level of frost.
Germ cells, called gametes, from the male and female plants fuse together during fertilization.
Parts of plants that are glabrous have no 'hairs' on their surface.
The female reproductive part of the plant.
A hybrid plant is the result of interbreeding different plant species of separate taxa.
This is a term describing the particular shape of leaves. Lanceolate leaves are long leaves that are wider in the middle.
A lenticel is an area of spongy tissue on the outside of vascular plants that allow for the exchange of gases between the atmosphere and the inner tissue of the plant.
These plants have a limited life cycle. The plant will grow, develop flowers, set their seeds, and the die.
The pappus surrounds the base of the corolla, and in some species, allows the seeds to be carried off by the wind (ie. Dandelion).
When a tree's branches are dangling or hanging loosely in the shape of a pendulum, they are said to be pendulous.
If a plant lives for more than two years it is classified as a perennial.
The perianth refers to the outer portion of a flower. The perianth contains the petals, sepals, and tepals.
The fleshy and edible part of a plant, or the fruit, is called the pericarp. It is the tissue that surrounds the seed(s).
The petals of a flower are the showy, usually brightly colored parts of the flower head that surround the reproductive parts.
This is the act of reproducing, spreading or distributing plants through both artificial and natural methods. Common methods are by using seeds or cuttings.
This is the first part to emerge from the seed during germination, considered the embryonic root of the plant. The radicle, once emerged, always grows downward in the soil.
The process of making parts of trees/plants smaller is called ramification. This is usually accomplished through pruning. (ie. Making a tree into a bonsai variant).
Root Tuber
A root tuber is a lateral root, although modified. These tubers are enlarged, and work as an organ for storage of nutrients. A good example of a root tuber is the sweet potato.
The fruit of a plant that is in the shape of wings, allowing the wind to carry them off. Often referred to as a 'helicopter'.
The sepal of a flower lies underneath the petals. They are usually green (but not always), and are of similar shape to the petals.
This term refers to the male organs of a plant.
Stem Tuber
This type of tuber tends to develop at the sides of the parent plant, and close to the soil. The topside can grow stems and leaves, while the underside develops roots. A potato is a specialized stem tuber.
Outgrowths located on either side of the leafstalk base. Stipules come in all shapes and sizes; spines, scales, hairs, etc.
A succulent plant is a plant that has adapted to hot and arid weather/soil conditions by retaining water in their stems, leaves and roots. Also known as 'fat plants'.
A flowers tepal is an element of the outer part of the flower itself, and includes the sepals and/or petals. When the petals and sepals are of similar shape and color, the term tepal is normally used as a collective name.
A tuber is an enlarged plant structure used to store nutrients, usually to provide sustenance for the plant during the winter months, and to help regrow the plant the following year. There are two types of tubers: stem tuber and root tuber.
A whorl is when items on a plant surround a central point. Example: Leaves that are whorled surround and attach to the stem at the same point.

Plant information:

The hardiness zone

The hardiness zones of plants refer to geologically-defined areas where plants, or categories of plants, are capable of growing. These zones are determined by climate, with the major factor simply being the temperature. These zones have been adopted around the world, but were originally developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). When reading information about plants, it is normally referred to simply by 'zone'.

Simple scale

Detailed scale

Parts of the plant:

When it comes to identifying plants, and even when gardening, It is important to understand the different parts of a plant. This area of expertise is called plant morphology, which is the study of the external structure and their physical form. People normally think of a plants anatomy when it comes to their parts, but plant anatomy refers to the internal structure of their parts. In plant morphology, two distinct areas are looked at; the vegetative structures, and the reproductive structures.

Vegetative Structures
The vegetative structures of plants include the two major organ systems; the shoot system, which contains the leaves and stems, and the root system. Most plants have both these systems, and as such, provide a common ground for the comparative nature of plant morphology as a whole.

In the plant world, the term 'bud' is given to an embryonic or undeveloped shoot. Once a bud forms, it can immediately grow into a shoot, or even stay dormant for a period of time before developing. Buds usually grow at the end of a plant stem, or in the axil of a leaf.
In areas of the world with cooler climates, the bud in ensconced by scales. These scales are actually modified leaves that enclose the delicate bud. As the bud grows, these scales fall off, leaving marks on the branch. Each new growing season sees new buds, and therefore, new scars. Just like you can tell the age of a tree by the rings on a cross-section, these scars allow people to determine the age of younger branches on a woody plant.

Types of Buds
Just like any other part of a plant, there are many different types of buds. Below are descriptions of the different types of buds. An individual bud can fall into several different categories.

Accessory buds only occur when an axillary bud is present. They grow on either side the axillary bud.

Buds that grow on any place other than the stem node are called adventitious buds. For example, they grow on the roots, crown tissue, or on rhizomes.

This is one of the most common types of buds. The axillary bud grows in the axil of a leaf.

A dormant bud is one that is not growing. This is usually due to cold weather conditions. Buds can also be dormant because of dry weather.

A flower bud is when embryonic flowers occur on the stem tip. Examples of plants with flower buds are the Magnolia and the Cherry Tree.

Buds that form not at the ends of the stem, but on the sides, are referred to as lateral buds.

When the tip of a stem contains embryonic leaves, it is called a leaf bud.

A mixed bud, quite simply, contains different materials. A mixed bud has both embryonic leaves and embryonic flowers.

A naked bud does not have a scaled covering. This normally occurs only in warmer climates.

Being common on the persimmon plant, pseudoterminal buds are actually lateral buds that have replaced the function of terminal buds.

A bud that contains embryonic flowers is called a reproductive bud.

The buds mentioned at the beginning of this page are scaly buds. These buds have protective covering that fall off as they grow. Usually only occur in colder climates.

Buds that grow right on the ends of stems are called terminal stems.

Buds that contain embryonic leaves are called vegetative buds.

In most plants, but not all, the roots are the part of the plant that is below the surface of the ground. In the case of hydroponically grown plants, the roots are below the surface of the water. Some roots grow above the ground and some poke up into the air from the ground.
Roots play two very critical roles in plants. Roots provide an anchor for the plant, keeping them upright and enabling plants to grow tall and wide. The second, and even more important function, is the absorption of nutrients and water from the ground. In addition to absorbing nutrients, roots also act as food storage containers.

Types of Roots
Below are all the different types of root structures found in plants with a brief description of the type. In time we will expand this section and go into more detail about plant roots.

Roots that develop from any part of the plant other than the radicle are considered adventitious. The most common place for these types of roots to develop are other old roots, but they can also grow out from stems and leaves.

Quite simply, aerial roots are above ground growing roots. Aerial roots are found in several different types of plants. Some examples of plants with aerial roots are poison ivy, mangrove trees, and orchids.

A fibrous root system consists of very thin roots branching out from the stem. As mentioned, these roots are thin, but are usually very strong. Common weeds are a good example of a plant with a fibrous root system.

Roots that are larger in diameter and soft to the touch are called fleshy roots. Fleshy roots normally store more nutrients for the plant than other root types.

Plants with haustorial roots tend to suck the life out of plants around them. Haustorial roots spread out to invade other plants' root system and depletes them of nutrients.

The primary root is also called the radicle. The primary root is the first root to emerge from the seed during germination.

As you can imagine, secondary roots grow off of the radicle, or primary root (see above). Secondary roots are also often called branch roots.

A taproot is a primary root (see above) that grows downward into the ground, and tapers as it gets deeper. As the main root, it creates a central root from which others can grow. Examples of plants with a taproot are dandelions, radishes and carrots.

Tuberous roots are thick, soft and usually more round in shape than long. They contain more storage tissue than most roots. Sweet potatoes are prime examples of plants with tuberous roots. 

Plants by region:

African Plants
African plants need to be robust, and able to stand very hot and arid conditions. Some examples of African plants include are Cat Thorn, Dune Spinach, and Pigeon Wood.

Asian Plants
Asian plants come in all shapes and sizes. There are many beautiful and very different flowers found in Asia. Some examples of Asian plants are Dan Dao Zi Cai, Goldband Lily, and Cumin.

Australian Plants
Australian plants are known for their hardiness. They need to withstand dry and hot conditions. Come Australian plants are the Southern Ironwood, Snowy River Wattle, and Kangaroo Vine.

European Plants
There are many different weather regions found all over Europe. The plant types vary greatly as well. Some common European plants are the Bosnian Lily, Chrysanthemums, and Corncockle.

North American Plants
North America combines all the different temperature regions into one continent. The plants vary greatly due to this. Some North American plants are the African Marigold, Alaska Violet, and Magnolia.

South American Plants
South America is known for it's rich forests and lush vegetation. Some South American plants include the Magnolia, Arracacha and the Calabash tree.


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