Name That Plant!

Sarah is embarking on a 100-species challenge to learn to recognize more of the plants that live around her. This coincides nicely with my interest in learning more about the plants that surround me, so I'm joining in, in a slightly modified format. To wit:

* I'm going to limit my radius to about 10 yards rather than one mile from where I live. There's enough going on in my grandfather's well-established, and in some cases over-established, garden to keep me occupied. If I run out of plants before I hit 100, I will either learn more about the plants I've already identified, or plant more plants, or declare the project complete.

* I'm going to focus on learning genera rather than species. Between Elie's helpful comment on Sarah's post --

Plants speciate wildly, and tend to be promiscuous in blending species--a plant species is harder to define, but knowing the genus will give you all sorts of useful information about what you are looking at.

-- and the fact that my new Encyclopedia of Garden Plants is organized by genus, I've become convinced that the genus level of identification is a useful goal. If I can nail down the particular species, or even subspecies, so much the better, but I'm not going to sweat the distinctions between, for example, the four varieties of figs in our yard (white fig, brown fig, black fig, green fig -- I think -- or was that one fig, two fig, red fig, blue fig? As someone who has mostly encountered figs in newton form, I'm doing well just to recognize the tree) or the proper name of the mutant citrus in the front yard.

* By "learn," I don't mean "memorize," but "find out and record somewhere where I can look it up again if ever I need to." My initial impulse with this project was to learn common names and not mess with the Latin, but learning genera kind of blows that idea out of the water. So I'll find out the technical name for my plants for the sake of looking them up, but I'm going to keep calling a California poppy a California poppy and a loquat a loquat.


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