Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
52 ratings

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

 

 

 

 

More General Botany Questions

Is Common Milkweed a Succulent?
March 31, 2015 - Is the common milkweed (butterfly plant) classified as a succulent?
view the full question and answer

Project on natives in Connecticut from Chino CA
April 13, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My 10 yr. old daughter is doing a project on Ct., and would like to know what the most common plants, trees and flowers are found in this state. A few of each would be a great ...
view the full question and answer

Genetics reason for color variation in Indian paintbrush
April 03, 2005 - Are the color variations in Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa) a matter of genetic mutation or minerals in the soil? I say it's genetic and the rest of the family says it's environmental.
view the full question and answer

Monocarpic plants for Indiana
October 06, 2005 - We were in Hawaii this summer and became acquainted with the Silversword. This plant (according to what we were told) blooms only once in it's lifetime (of 50-70 years). Are you aware of any other pl...
view the full question and answer

Do plants grow better under artificial or natural light?
May 25, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, So do plants grow better under artificial lights, or sunlight???? and if so what happens when they are growing? Which seedling sprouts first??? What happens as they grow? I a...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.