Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lesson 2-Genus?

The Desert Rose

Today was a busy day with class and a garden show in Tucson.  It was hot and nasty outside....when I say nasty, I mean to say humid.  I thought monsoon was over!! I have decided to break my next several posts up over the course of a week as there was a lot of information today in class, on plants, butterflies, and on a new threat to the neighbor's dog.  I didn't think I would become THAT gardener complaining about dogs....but now I see why they do....I'll update you on that situation in the next posting.
 Potted, this Desert Rose makes a nice addition to the garden

Today we studied the science and latin of the plant world in a nice cool room with a Professor from the UA.  It was an interesting presentation, but there were times when I found myself thinking about other why are these latin names important?:)  We spoke of species genus, common names, cultivars, specific epithets and more:)  For example, if we see the latin name, "microphylia", it literally means "small leaf".
Or that any plant with "Virginica" in the latin description refers to "from the East Coast". "Florida"=flowers, etc.  Plants are also classified according to their fruit and flowers and not by their leaves.  For example, the "bean family" is quite a large group of plants that cover bushes, vines, trees, etc.

Traditional Ramada Garden In Tucson

Here's a quiz for the desert southwest gardener....see if you can answer these questions.  Answers will be at the end of this post.

  1. What are the 3 most common types of plants used in the desert SW landscaping?
  2. Is the aloe an agave?
  3. What is a common plant from the Spurge Family?
  4. Are mushrooms plants?
  5. Bamboo belongs to which plant family?
  6. The Mint Family is called: a. Lamiaceae  b.  Cactaceae  c. Agavaceae  d. Poaceae
  7. What does it mean EXOTIC SPECIES?
  8. Is a Psago Palm a palm?
  9. Cycads are related more to the Pine family or the Palm Family?
  10. Of the vegetation type, the desert is said to be: a. xeric b. mesic c. aquatic d. amphibious

There was a lot to take in today, but it was extremely informative and I have a stronger grasp on terminology. There was some new information and it will be helpful down the road.

Ready for the answers?  Here we go....

  1. Fabaceae(the legume family-mesquite, coral bean, etc), Cactaceae(the cacti family), and Agavaceae(the agave family).
  2. Aloe is not an agave.
  3. The Pointsetta is of the Spurge Family.
  4. Mushrooms are fungi and not part of the plant family.
  5. Bamboo is considered to be from the grass family.
  6. Mint=Lamiaceae Family
  7. Exotic Species=non-native species
  8. Psago Palm is not a palm.
  9. Cycads are related more to pine than to palm.
  10. The desert is considered a xeric climate.
Until my butterfly posting.....happy gardening from Tucson, AZ!!:)


  1. I did not do so well on the quiz - everything felt like a trick question.

    Since I've been gardening, I'm also a fist-shaker when it comes to the neighborhood unsupervised kids - chasing butterflies in my garden and trampling everything. damn kids!

  2. No stress:) I felt that way today throughout the was good, but it took me awhile to process all the fact, I still have to go over my notes tomorrow.:(

  3. wow...sounds like you`re getting quite the education!!! I had no idea....about most of that!
    What a beautiful place to live...and here we are getting snow already:(
    Guess I know where to vacation soon:)
    Thanks for sharing...great information!

  4. I only got Q 4,5,7,8 and 10 correct. Love the desert rose!

  5. I failed miserably. I am so ashamed. But at least I learned.


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