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Mr. Smarty Plants - Ways to group plants

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Tuesday - April 14, 2009

From: Tampa, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: General Botany
Title: Ways to group plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Are deciduous plants and leaves and roots ways to group plants? I need the answer now; tell me the answer if some are wrong?

ANSWER:

Deciduous and evergreen is certainly one way to group plants. Trees native to Florida such as Aesculus pavia (red buckeye) and Acer rubrum (red maple) are deciduous, meaning they shed their leaves when the weather turns cool, and put on fresh ones in the Spring. Also native to Florida are Pinus palustris (longleaf pine) and Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia), both of which are evergreen, retaining their leaves, but dropping and replacing them gradually year-round. 

Another way to group plants is by whether they are annuals (grow, bloom, drop seeds and die all in one year) or perennials (sometimes die back to the ground, but return from roots the next season.) Some annuals native to Florida are Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel) and Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm). A couple of perennials native to Florida are  Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) and Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine).

Plants can also be grouped by whether they are angiosperms or gymnosperms. Angiosperms are flowering plants and are the largest group in the plant kingdom, and all of the plants above belong to that group except Pinus palustris (longleaf pine), which is a gymnosperm.

You can click on any of the plant links and read about that particular plant, or you can try some Googling. When we searched on "groupings of plants" we got several websites, but one in particular you might be interested in is from Cazadero, the Four Major Groups of Plants. This author divides plants into mosses, ferns, conifers (gymnosperms) and flowering plants (angiosperms). 


Aesculus pavia

Acer rubrum

Pinus palustris

Magnolia grandiflora

Gaillardia pulchella

Monarda punctata

Asclepias tuberosa

Lupinus perennis

 

 

 

 

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