What do those things mean?
Plant-Terminology - Definition of terms common to landscaping plants
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. They include familiar organisms such as trees, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae.
Deciduous is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally
An evergreen plant is a plant having leaves all year round. The common evergreens in northern climates are needle-bearing plants although some leaf bearing plants hold their leaves all year round like Boxwood shrubs.
A woody plant is a plant that uses wood as its structural tissue and are usually either trees or shrubs.
An herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground. An herbaceous plant may be annual, biennial or perennial.
An annual plant is a plant that usually germinates, flowers, and dies in a year or season. They need to be planted each year.
A biennial plant is a flowering plant that takes two years to complete its biological lifecycle. In the first year the plant grows leaves, stems, and roots (vegetative structures), then it enters a period of dormancy over the colder months and return the second year to complete its life cycle to bloom and seed.
A perennial plant or perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Some plants that are perennials in southern climates will only exist as annual plants in the northern climate zones.
A shrub or bush is a horticultural rather than a strict botanical category of woody plant, distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and lower height, usually less than 15 ft. tall
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk.
A shade tree is any tree grown specifically for its shade. This term usually applies to large trees with spreading canopies.
An ornamental tree is a term used when trees they are used as part of a garden setting, for instance for their flowers, their shapes or for other attractive characteristics. Most ornamental trees are flowering trees.
A fruit tree is a tree bearing fruit that is consumed or used by people
A clump tree is a tree with multiple trunks rather than the common singular trunk.
Native plant is a term to describe plants that have developed, occur naturally, or existed for many years in an area (e.g. trees, flowers, grasses, and other plants).
Plant Names can be either their common name or their biological or scientific name. The common name of the plant is the term most commonly used as a plant name versus the scientific name for the same plant. An example would be the common name of Daylily, which is of the scientific family Hemerocallis. Plants may be labeled with both names.
A hardiness zone is a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone. The northern half of Minnesota is zone 3 and the southern half is zone 4. The higher the number, the warmer the climate. Perennial plants that grow in zone 5 through 10 will typically not survive Minnesota winters. They are often used in Minnesota gardens but they are treated as annuals and have to be replaced each year.
I hope that this list of plant-terminology helps you better understand the terms commonly used in landscaping.
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