Q:

Where are some basics of flowering plant identification?

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Quick Answer

Flowering, non-woody plants are characterized by multiple flower parts of four or five without parallel-veined leaves, according to the New England Wild Flower Society. Floral characteristics are important to know because there are wide ranges of species. Some narrow-leaf species have just a single leaf vein, which makes these types of plants hard to identify.

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Full Answer

Flowering, non-woody plants can be arranged into several classes such as the Aster family of daisies and goldenrods, herbaceous plants with alternate leaves and herbaceous plants with whorled, opposite or no leaves. Asters include ray-type flowers with flat petals and disk flowers with five tooth-like tubes at the summit. These flowers often radiate from a center point like sunflowers.

One way to identify alternate leaves on flowering plants is to closely examine the leaves at the stem. Plants have alternate leaves when the structures meet the stem and go in opposite directions. Leaves vary from the top of the plant to the bottom, so gardeners should examine multiple plants to determine if leaves go in opposite directions.

Typical flowering plants have an underground root system and above-ground shoot organized into the stem and leaves. These organs can be arranged in many ways in almost limitless combinations, which is why there are so many species of flowering plants.

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