Skip to main content

The language of plants

There are dictionaries of plant terms containing lots of words you will never have need of, - the following are several groups of those word you are most likely encounter.

Deciduous and Evergreen

Deciduous plants drop their leaves in winter, produce new foliage in the spring, such as oak or lilac.

Evergreen plants retain their leaves throughout the winter, including laurel and holly.

Hardy, half-hardy, and tender

Hardy plant can survive outdoors all year round without protection. Obviously, plants that are hardy in mild area may not be hardy in colder area.

Half-hardy plants need protection when the temperature drops to freezing.

Tender plants will suffer in cold weather, even before it reaches freezing point.

Acid loving and alkaline loving

Acid loving plants grow best in soil that has a pH lower than 7 - i.e. soil that contains no lime. Such plants include rhododendrons and camellias, and are often also known as calcifuges (lime haters).

alkaline loving plants grow best in a soil that has a pH figure over 7 - i.e. soil that contains lime. Plants include lilac, the butterfly bush (buddleia) and fuchsia.

Single, double and semi-double

Single flowers have a single whorl of petals. Most wild plants have single flowers.

Semi-double flowers have two or three rows of petals in layers.

Double flowers have many rows of petals and usually no stamens.

Annual, biennial, and herbaceous perennial

Annual plant germinates from seed, grows, flowers and dies all in the same season; for example, snapdragons, marigolds and sunflowers.

Biennial plant is sown in summer, overwinters outdoors, flowers in the following spring or early summer and then dies; for example, wallflowers, sweet Williams and Canterbury bells.

Herbaceous perennial plant usually dies down in autumn or winter, reappears in spring and flowers in the second year. Perennials live for at least two years, some for much longer, and include the familiar Michaelmas daisy and hollyhock.

Climbers

These plants clamber up and over walls, fences and other plants. there are three groups: those that are self clinging, using sucker pads, such as ivy; those that naturally twine around other plants ( a good example is honeysuckle); and those that hold on using tendrils - sweet peas for example.

Bulbs, corms and tubers

These are usually all called bulbs, but there is a difference.

True bulbs, such as daffodils or onions, are make up of thickened leaves.

Corms, by contrast, are thickened stems and are solid and hard. They include crocus and gladiolus.

A tuber is a thickened root - a dahlia or a potato, for example.

A rhizome is a thickened underground stem, as seen in a bearded iris.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Panic or panick

There is only one spelling for panic; the verb is inflected 'panic, panics, panicked, and panicking’. The form panick is used for progressive tense, past tense and past participle. We don't write panick today, though English speakers from a few hundred years ago might have (in the same way they might have written musick).

When the alternate spelling “panick” is used for the past participle: "I panicked last night at the disco." When it’s use for progressive tense: “Invariably, when markets are panicking, they sell the stocks quickly.”

It's the rule for root words ending in "c" is that you have to add “k”, so the spelling is related with the pronunciation. If we don't add the <k>, it looks as if the <c> has to be pronounced /s/. If the "k" was not there, “panicing” would look like the word which is supposed to be pronounced as if it is ended in "sing," while “paniced” would be pronounced like “panised”.

The same would …

PEMDAS

"PEMDAS" - parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, is the "order of operation" in a single math expression.

Sans Foy, Sans Joy and Sans Loy

Sans: without

The origin of sans was Old French sanz, from a variant of Latin sine 'without', influenced by Latin absentia 'in the absence of'.

Sans Serif, a typeface without short line at the top or bottom of a letter.

In the long poem 'The Faerie Queene' by Edmund Spenser, three dark knights  called Sans Foy, Sans Joy and Sans Loy, meaning "Faithless", "Joyless" and "Lawless",  they fought Red Cross Knight Sir George, they are brothers.

sans-culotte, literally 'without knee breeches', was a lower-class Parisian republican in the French Revolution. an extreme republican or revolutionary.