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Knowing the Names of Plants That Share Your World

By Kathleen
April 26, 2012

To know the names of the plants with which you live, is to have an intimacy with the land that few find.

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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Apr 26, 2012 6:15 AM CST
I'm doing now, what you did then; it's fantastically absorbing and interesting!

Studying what grows without human assistance here is really helping me to make better choices of garden plants, as well as with where to put them once I get them.

Great article!

Thank you!
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Kathleen Tenpas
Wickwire Corners NY (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! The WITWIT Badge Raises cows Region: New York Farmer
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathleen
Apr 26, 2012 6:51 AM CST
I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I have to get going on fungus and I'm not as good with trees as I should be. It is a life-long search.

Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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vic
Apr 26, 2012 5:37 PM CST
Fantastic article Kathleen - thank you so much!

I started learning the names of all the "stuff" in our woods and on our property over 20 years ago when we lived in OH. Now that we're here, there are lots of new things to learn Smiling

I'm not good with trees either. If they are in leaf, I'm better but dh is able to identify by the bark. Maybe someday I can do that Whistling
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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LindaTX8
Apr 28, 2012 12:38 AM CST
Great article!I know a lot of names for plants...at least, when I can remember them! I even know some botanical names! Seem like every two years they go and change the botanical names, however. It's really irritating when I know one...and then find out they changed it!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Apr 28, 2012 3:48 PM CST
I just loved this article.

I have been on an extended road trip through Oregon, Calif., Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and now headed through the top part of Nevada, bottom of Idaho and back home to Dallas, Oregon.

On this trip I am amazed to find that most people don't seem to know the names of the native plants blooming all around them on the deserts and meadow lands. Even people that have lived in the area all their life.

As I have been taking photos I have been working at identifying them. What a task it has been, but a fun one for sure.



Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
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LindaTX8
Apr 28, 2012 4:33 PM CST
So true! It's very rare to find someone who actually knows more than a few kinds of wildflowers. I used to be like that once. As far as true wildflowers, I knew while young a "buttercup", a "dandelion" and a "bluebonnet". Later I found out that what I called "buttercup" was actually a primrose, not botanically a buttercup at all . And the "dandelion" I knew was actually a Texas Dandelion, not the plant that just about everybody else calls dandelion. At least the last one really was a bluebonnet! When late in my life I decided to get serious about college, I eventually ended up at a university that offered three kinds of plant courses that had field trips. I took the wildflower course and afterward the woody plant course. By that time, I had already been working on learning the wildflowers and had one book on Texas wildflowers. Those courses were the most enjoyable courses I've ever taken! With our copies of Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country in hand, we'd pile into the van most weeks during those courses and we'd go somewhere to look at and identify plants growing wild and collect plant specimens. It was an adventure! Some of my other courses might be horrendously difficult, tedious and boring, but not those! I don't think I ever missed one of those plant classes! I might mention that they weren't blow-off courses at all. There were quizzes every week and you really had to study hard to make that A or B! Then there were plant specimens that had to be pressed, dried and pasted into a notebook...with labels you had to make and fill out with info...those were turned in for grades. I heard years later that the university would no longer provide vans for the classes and the professor and students were just getting around in private vehicles for the field trips. It was after those that I joined a chapter of Native Plant Society of Texas and the Master Naturalists. Some of those people really know the native plants...and a lot of nonnative plants also!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Kathleen Tenpas
Wickwire Corners NY (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! The WITWIT Badge Raises cows Region: New York Farmer
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathleen
Apr 29, 2012 5:30 AM CST
We live near Jamestown NY, the home of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. RTPI occasionally gives a wild flower class, which I took several years ago. It turned out that I knew almost as much as the educator about local plants, but it was fun going around the county and seeing them in different settings. And, he knew a spot where the Ladie's Slippers were quite abundant, which was a nice thing to see.

I think what I like most about knowing the plants is that it centers you in a place. My daughter is moving home with her family from several years in Kentucky, and while she was there, I made an effort to know what was growing around her. It made her place more real to me. Now, we'll have their new property, which is about 4 miles from us, to explore. It is often remarkable how much difference a few miles and a change in elevation can make.

Lynn, one year when we were going down to KY to visit, I kept a catalog of sorts of the roadside flowers. The changes from north to south were very interesting.

Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Apr 29, 2012 6:26 PM CST
Kathleen, I found that from one desert area to the next. It was amazing the changes we saw in just a few miles of travel. It was so intriguing to me.
I probably have over 500 photos of plants just on the desert. Can't wait to get home and start adding them to the database. Some I will still have to ID.
Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
May 5, 2012 7:26 PM CST
An excellent article Kathleen! It is also good to know the difference between poison oak and Virginia creeper!
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
Name: Kathleen Tenpas
Wickwire Corners NY (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! The WITWIT Badge Raises cows Region: New York Farmer
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Kathleen
May 6, 2012 4:24 AM CST
yes indeed!

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