Taxonomy of Flowering Plants
Flowering plants, Angiosperms, technically speaking, are divided into two
groups, based on the number of seed leaves. Those with paired seed
leaves are Dicotyledonous
plants, or dicots for short. Monocotyledonous
plants have but one seed leaf. Grasses, orchids and sedges are monocots.
This article, though lengthy, is but a very short introduction to the taxonomy
of dicots and monocots. The basic hierarchy of nomenclature begins
with Form, and progresses to Variety, Subspecies, Species, Subgenus, Genus,
Subfamily, Family and Order. In the interest of brevity, only Order,
Family and Genus will be considered here.
There are practical horticultural benefits of knowing familial and ordinal
relationships. For example, if Fireblight has killed photinias in
your landscape, you should avoid other members of the Family Rosaceae,
since all can be affected. If you appreciate the nitrogen-fixing
ability of the Legumes in your vegetable garden and want others for your
landscape, select from the listing of genera of the Fabaceae, the Legume
Family. Aesthetically, if a certain flower form appeals to you, include
more members of the same family in your plantings. The Aristolochiaceae,
Asclepiadaceae, Passifloraceae and Rutaceae families include caterpillar
food sources for some of the most attractive butterflies. Include
hardy members of their genera if you want a "butterfly factory" surrounding
your house. And finally, you might want to "keep it in the family"
and grow an entire bed or border with plants from just one Family.
|In the Monocot
and Dicot pages,
the first part is a listing of selected Orders and some of the Families
they contain. The Orders of both dicots and monocots are arranged
in ascending degree of specialization. In the Dicotyledonous plants,
the first, and presumed to be the most primitive, are the Magnoliales,
because they share many traits with the early Angiosperms known from the
fossil record. The Asterales, the most specialized, are at the top
of this family tree.
The second part of each page includes Families and some of their Genera.
It is not a provincial listing just of plants which we can grow in central
Texas, but also includes sources of food, fiber and medicine as well as
many other interesting plants.