of Flowering Plants
Flowering plants, Angiosperms
(Magnoliophyta), technically speaking, are divided into two groups, based
on the number of seed leaves. Those with paired seed leaves are Dicotyledonous
(Magnoliopsida) plants, or dicots for short. Monocotyledonous
(Liliopsida) 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.