So you're new to this website! We're glad you're here and we hope that you'll get a lot out of this site.
Studying plants is all about looking for patterns. By using this site you'll be able to learn about those patterns since we've grouped the flowering plants taxonomically into their families.
What each page explains
General Information: A quick overview of why this plant family is important including how many species they represent and where they might be found.
Systematics: The technical information used to identify this plant family.
Common or Important Species: Thumbnails of some of the more common or representative plants of the family.
Pictures and Video from Representative Plants: Certain plant families will have pictures or video from plants in that taxa.
List of Genera: When available we have lists compiled from reputable sources on the current genera. However, care should be taken as taxa change all the time and not all botanists agree on the proper classification. We give the sources we collected our data from when we post them.
Where do I start?
Learn what scientific names mean: if you're still confused why we use scientific names or how botanists classify plants into genera, families, orders, etc. then you should read about it here.
Learn the big picture: Why have botanists grouped similar plants? In reality todays plants represent the end result of a long evolutionary history. Scientists have tried to reconstruct when certain groups of plants diverged from each other. By understanding how and when certain groups of plants may have evolved from each other you'll better understand the importance of our present classification themes.
Monocots vs Dicots: Flowering plants can be divided into two basic groups - monocots and dicots. Its one of the easiest ways to classify flowering plants and the characters that each have can easily be learned on day one.
Plant Terminology: Quickly get familiar with the names of common plant parts. Do you know what the petals, sepals, stamen, and pistils are? You'll need to know them to understand some of the basic terminology we use throughout this website.
Learn your first 5 plant families: You're now ready to start learning a few basic plant families. You should start with a few that can be easily identified and spotted almost anywhere you are. We recommend the following 5 families.
Fabaceae: Peas are one of the easiest families to recognize and in most places of the northern hemisphere they're common weeds. Most are nitrogen fixers and have been very important for agriculture for hundreds of years.
Apiaceae: Carrots are roots of a plant in this family. Its also easy to recognize with a distinctive "umbel"-like flower stalk.
Orchidaceae: There are over 30,000 species in the world and many more cultivated varieties. Since they're very common ornamentals and quite showy monocots we think they're an important first group.
Liliaceae: Lilies are another monocot that are easy to identify. Easter lilies, Tiger lilies, and daffodils are all important members in this family.
After learning those plant families start by learning others: