A few words about plant terminology.

January 2, 2011

Have you ever heard about perennials and annuals, conifers, deciduous plants and wondered what it meant? You’re not alone.  We all get a little confused when it comes to plant terminology. But we’re here to help!

Perennials vs. Biennial vs. Annuals.

Perennials have a life cycle of 3+ years, as opposed to annuals (1 year) and biennials (2 years). Interestingly enough, just because you see “the same” plants in your garden year after year, they’re not necessarily perennials. They could simply be re-seeding.




Any of various chiefly evergreen, cone-bearing gymnospermous trees or shrubs such as pines, spruces, and firs.  Trees that are conifers reproduce by forming  a cone rather than a  flower as a container for their seeds.  

Evergreen vs. Deciduous

A deciduous plant is one that sheds leaves in the winter (example American Beautyberry).  An evergreen plant keeps its leaves all seasons (example Yaupon Holly).

Fruit vs. Vegetables 

“Botanically speaking, many plant foods we call vegetables — even cereal grains — are actually fruits. Vegetable is a culinary term for the stem, leaf, or root of a plant, says Almuth Tschunko, PhD, a professor of biology at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. Fruits, on the other hand, develop from the flower and contain one or more seeds. For example, in scientific terms, a carrot is a root, whereas each kernel of corn is an individual fruit. Likewise, a sunflower “seed” is simply a dried fruit. The exception: The fruit of the tomato plant was legally classified as a vegetable in the U.S. in 1893, when the Supreme Court ruled that because they were eaten in entrées, tomatoes should be subject to the same tariffs as vegetables.”   deliciouslivingmag.com 


American Beautyberry

American Beautyberry

Full Sun vs. Part Sun vs. Shade

Full Sun does not mean the same in Oregon as it does in Texas. Here is north Texas our summer afternoon sun can easily burn plants that cannot handle that kind of heat and often need more water to be able to handle it. In north Texas full sun generally means 6+ hours of direct sun. Part Sun means 3-6 hrs of direct sun. Part shade  and shade usually mean 3 hours of sun or less and as little as just dappled sun, no direct sun.  To assure success in your gardening adventures, place plants that generally thrive in cooler climate where they only get morning and early afternoon sun.

One Response to “A few words about plant terminology.”

  1. […] Plant TerminologyDo you know the difference between annual and perennial, fruit and vegetable? About plant terminology: http://j.mp/mj40Mz […]

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