A rainy Tuesday and you still get the answers to yesterday’s brain teasers – what a bargain! But before you get there, you may notice that many of the questions are related to plant families. I find it extremely fascinating that the Silversword plant is part of the Sunflower family. Identifying the origin is not only valuable to understanding the plant but it also encourages learning.
On our last visit to Hawaii, we hung out with the head curator at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. His love for horticulture was spurred by plant families. At a very young age, he was fascinated when he learned that the strawberry was part of the rose family. From that point, he was hooked.
1) The Silversword plant, a rare and endangered species is only found on the island of Maui.
False. The Silverwood plant, a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) is found in Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii as well as the top of Haleakala National Park in Maui. The Silversword plant in our photo was taken on a hike outside of Volcano National Park in Mauna Loa. We also saw these plants the next day in Mauna Kea.
2) Peaches are in the Rosaceae (Rose) family.
True. A bit of trivia: Peaches are a symbol of longevity. So eat plenty of them to keep healthy.
3) Thorns are modified leaves.
True. Thorns are modified leaves that conserve water and also defend the plants from browsing animals.
4) Bananas are in the corn family.
False. Bananas are not in the same botanical family as corn. The banana is in the Musaceae family or banana family; corn is in the Gramineae or grass family. They are distantly related to each other but are not in the same botanical family.
5) Barren Strawberry (Waldsteinia), an underrated and extremely useful ground cover is part of the Primulaceae - The Primrose Family.
False. This versatile plant is part of the Rosaceae (Rose) Family. I have mentioned this plant in a previous blog. Next time you are looking to plant a groundcover in a sunny or shady area (hence, its versatility) don’t forget Waldsteinia. It’s a workhorse.
To lighten up the botanical hodge-podge, I’ll leave you with the inspirational gardening thought of the day by an unknown author. “Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts.” Everyone has an Aunt Rose.
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