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April 1, 2010 / Malcolm Dalebö

How to recognise Plant Families

Click on the diagram for a larger image

The idea of Plant Families is that plants which have something in common can be grouped together. Knowing which Family a plant belongs to can be useful – not just a way of showing off!

For a start, it can help identify a new plant. If your unknown plant has the characteristics of a particular Family, then you can narrow the search to find its identity.
As an allotmenteer you need to understand about crop rotation, and that is always done on a family basis.
It can often tell you what the seeds will be like – whether they’re large or small, and whether there are a lot of them in a seedpod or only one. 
Knowing the Plant Family can also give you a clue about how to germinate any new seeds you have from other plants in that Family. 
Knowing which Family a plant belongs to can tell you what the seedling looks like. Seeds of all the Monocot families (such as bulbs, grasses and palms) will come up with only one seed leaf. Dicots (most of the other larger plant families) have two seed leaves.
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