Parts of a Flower - A flower begins at the top of the plant's stalk and consists of the following parts:
Corolla - The petals of a flower (two or more) are known collectively as the corolla.
Sepal - The leaf-like base between the top of the stalk and the petals which together form the calyx.
Pistil - The ovary of any seed plant required for reproduction.
Stamen - The male reproductive organ of a flower typically located between the pistil and
the surrounding petals.
Stem - The stem of a plant has the purpose of supporting both leaves and flowers in
addition to providing a vascular system for the flow of water and other substances
necessary to sustain the plant's life.
Roots - Roots anchor both the plant and the soil surrounding the plant upon which the plant is dependent for water and other nutrients. There are three primary types of root systems:
Fibrous Root - The commonly-seen type of root system made up of fine, branching smaller rootlets which collect moisture.
Tap Root - Large, strong, often carrot-shaped root capable of reaching into sub-soil.
Advetious Root - Type which often grows perpendicular to the stem. This kind of root is
typical of plants with climbing stems.
Leaves - Leaves provide the solar collection necessary for photosynthesis--the process
whereby sunlight produces food and molecular building blocks necessary for plant
survival. There is an enormous variety of leaf shape in nature but essentially they can be
categorized into four general groups:
Entire -If a leaf margin is even and unbroken, it can be classified as entire.
Toothed - When a leaf's edge is relatively regular with shallow indentations which can be pointed, wavy, or scalloped, the leaf is called toothed.
Lobed - Leaves that appear with deep indentations which separate it into several sections are known as lobed.
Divided - Refers to a leaf that is actually divided into separate parts known as leaflets.
The three types of Wildflowers - To understand how wildflowers grow and reproduce, it's
important to know which type of plant is being discussed. These plant types, of course, apply not only to wildflowers,
but to all the thousands of hybrids that have been "made" from them as garden flowers we all enjoy. Remember, every
flower is descended from a wildflower (or more than one) that is native somewhere on earth.
Annual wildflowers are the ones which grow quickly from seed, bloom usually for a long period
(about two months, on average), and then die with the first hard frost. This means annual wildflowers live only
one growing season. They are propagated by dropping their seeds as their flowers fade. This tells you that if
you know of an annual that "came back" for a second year after a winter, it simply re-grew the second year from
seed it produced the year before. This is called "self-sowing, and usually happens only when annual seed falls
on bare ground. Most wild annuals are native to open spaces, rather than areas that are, or were originally,
wooded. Popular wild annuals are the European red poppy and North America's plains coreopsis.
Perennial wildflowers are the ones that "come back" each year from the same roots, forming
larger and larger clumps with more and more flowers as they age. From seed, they germinate more slowly than most
annuals, and make minor above-ground growth during their first growing season. Bloom usually begins their
second growing season, and a perennial's season of bloom is usually much shorter than that of an annual.
(The average perennial blooms for about two weeks.) Examples of perennials are common daisies, purple coneflower,
St. Johnswort, and the goldenrods. Some perennials live to return year after year for decades or even centuries.
Others are what botanists call "short-lived", which usually means the plant persists for less than five years.
The third and smallest group of wildflowers are the biennials. These plants have
a two-year life-cycle. Like perennials, they normally do not bloom their first year, but bloom
and seed profusely-- for a comparatively long period-- their second. Common examples of biennials
are our common roadside weed, Queen Anne's lace, and one of North America's most popular native
flowers, the black-eyed Susan.
Wildflower naming and terminology:
The classification system of scientific
names applied to plants and animals.
Botanical, Latin, or scientific name
accepted name of a wildflower, usually based on Latin or Greek. This name
consists of a “genus” name followed by a “species” name.
Susan’s botanical name is Rudbeckia hirta.
The “first name” in
a plant’s botanical
name. See example in above entry for Rudbeckia.
The “second name” in a plant’s
botanical name. See example in above entries for hirta.
The popularly used English name for a North American
Example: Black-eyed Susan.
A wildflower species that occurs naturally in
the place it is found.
A wildflower that is native elsewhere,
but has adapted to the wild where it is found.
A wildflower species that is native to another
A wildflower species that is native to another continent..
An agressive wildflower species that tends to
An invasive wildflower species that causes serious
A weedy plant that is considered a pest in a particular