Use the following links to locate information on this page.

Introduction

Leaves

Flowers

Roots

Taxonomy

Specific Flora

 

Flora of French Hill Pond

Introduction

Flora is a word for the plants located in a specific area, in this case the French Hill Pond watershed. The Plant Kingdom (Plantae) consists of organisms that have no locomotive movement, no sensory organs but have cellulose (C6H10O5)n cell walls. The description of flora on this website is divided into the following categories: Submersed Plants, Floating-leaved Plants, Emergent Plants, Field Plants, Trees and Woodland Plants. Placing plants into one of these categories may be arbitrary in some cases. A plant is placed in these categories based upon where it is most likely to be found. Plants that have no wood are called herbs. Forbs are herbs that flower and are not graminoids (grasses, sedges and rushes). Low plants containing wood are called shrubs. Large plants containing wood are called trees. Woodland plants can be herbs. Similarly, field plants can be shrubs. Sometimes it is difficult to determine if a plant is a large shrub or a tree. Experts can differ on the classifications of plants. This website uses the United States Department of Agriculture as the authority with respect to classification.

Plants may be biennial, perennial or annual. Annual denotes plants that grow during one season only then die off. Biennial plants survive for two growing seasons before they die. Perennial plants become dormant at the end of the growing season but revive to grow again for more than two growing seasons.

The identification of plants can be difficult. Plants are identified by examining their leaves, flowers, stems and roots. Often only one or two of these parts of a plant can be used to identify the plant to the species level. At other times, all the parts of the plant may need to be examined.

Click here to go to the top of this page

Leaves

There are two basic types of leaves: simple and compound. Simple leaves are single leaves attached to a stem of the plant by a short stem called a petiole or clasping the plant stem directly. Compound leaves are arrangements of two or more simple leaves, called leaflets, attached to a single petiole. Four characteristics of leaves are examined: color, arrangement on the stem, margins of the leaf and the leaf shape. A leaf may be the same color on the top and underside or have a different color on top than the underside. Generally, the colors will be some shade of green because of the presence of chloroplasts, that is, microscopic cells containing chlorophyll, which is green. Some plants do not contain chlorophyll in some leaves. The leaves of these plants are generally white.

The leaf arrangement along a stem can be alternate, opposite or whorled. Leaf margins, that is the edges of the leaves, can be entire (smooth), toothed, serrated, lobed or pinnately lobed. Leaf shapes can be ovate, elliptical, lance shaped, elongate, heat-shaped, triangular or needle-shaped. Some plants have leaves on the ground at the base of the plant stalks called basal leaves.

Alternate
Alternate
Opposite
Opposite
Whorled
Whorled

Leaf Arrangements

Entire
Entire
Toothed
Toothed
Serrated
Serrated
Lobed
Lobed
Pinnately Lobed
Pinnately Lobed

Leaf Margins

Ovate
Ovate
Elliptical
Elliptical
Lanceolate
Lance-shaped
Elongate/Linear
Elongate/Linear
Heart-shaped
Heart-shaped
Triangular
Triangular
Needles
Needles 
         

Leaf Shapes

Click here to go to the top of this page



Flowers

The parts of a flower that may be examined for purposes of identification are: the pistil, stamen, perianth (petals and sepals) and the bracts. Pistils are the female reproductive organs of the plant containing the ovary, style and stigma. The style is the stalk of the pistil. At the top of the stalk is a receptor for pollen called the stigma. The ovary, where the seed is formed, is normally at the base of the style. The photograph below shows the flower of a Pin Cherry tree. The pistils are a pale green. Stamens are the male reproductive parts of the plant containing the pollen. The stamens in the photograph are white except for the tip. The pollen is contained on the anther located on the tip of a stamen. The stalk of the stamen holding the anther is called the filament. Sepals are smaller petals interspersed with the larger petals of the perianth and usually below the petals. The sepals of the Pin Cherry blossom are very small.  Bracts are leaf-like parts of the flower normally at the base of the flower and usually had encased the flower before it bloomed.

Basic Flower Structure 

Some flowers have complex arrangements to attract insects. Flowers like sunflowers have a central disk containing the basic flower structures that is called the disk, collectively called disk flowers. Surrounding the disk flowers will be radiating petals called rays, collectively called ray flowers. Other flowers may have lips and funnels to guide insects to the basic flower structure.

Fruits

Fruits of plants can take many forms. The fruits always contain seeds (even "seedless" varieties). The seeds can be encapsulated singularly  or in groups in a shell, like walnuts, or a fleshy mass, like apples. Seeds may also be in a matrix formation on the outside of a fleshy mass like a strawberry or on the outside of a stiff medium like a cattail fruit or a cob. Seeds may also be formed individually without encapsulation or being imbedded in a support mass. Many seeds will have pappi (singular:" pappus"),  collections of hair-like appendages that enable the seeds to travel great distances when blown by the wind. Plants that do not flower, for example, ferns  produce spores. Spores (see below) are primitive organisms that will develop directly into another plant upon contact with a growth medium unlike a seed that must break out of its protective container in a process called germination.

Types of Fruits

A berry is a fleshy mass containing more than one seed. Example: blueberry.

A capsule is a dry, thin-walled container with more than one seed that splits open and disperses the seeds at maturity. Example: poppy seed capsule.

A drupe is a fleshy mass containing one hard "stone" that contains one seed. Example: a cherry.

A follicle is like a capsule but developed from only one ovary and has only one chamber. Example: milkweed capsule.

A key is a one-seeded fruit with one or more wings. Example: maple tree key.

A nut has one seed enclosed in a hard shell that does not split open at maturity. Example: walnut.

A pod is a dry fruit with one cell and a thick wall that splits open and disperses the seed at maturity. Example: peapod.

A pome is a fleshy mass containing a thin, relatively dry, inner chamber containing seeds. Example: an apple.

A schizocarp is a dry fruit consisting of chambers called "carpels" containing one or more seeds. When the carpels are dispersed, they are called "mericarps."

Conifer trees or shrubs and some flowering trees or shrubs, e.g. birches, produce cones in which seeds are contained in a dry, scaly, cone-shaped container having a central axis.

Spores

Non-flowering plants, most notably ferns, can reproduce by spores. The word "spore" comes from the Greek for "seed sowing." A spore is not a seed because it is produced asexually. Seeds are produced sexually as through pollination in the ovary of a flower. Spores have the advantage of being easily dispersed, surviving harsh environments and not being subject to predation by animals. A thorough description of spores is beyond the scope of this section.

A sorus is a structure that produces and holds spores until the spores are mature and ready for distribution. The plural of sorus is sori.

Roots

The roots are generally the part of the plant that is underground. There are exceptions to this rule. Some plants, like mosses and orchids, may cling to an object and have exposed roots.

 Root systems can be simple, that is, consist of fibrous, thin stems that absorb water and nutrients for the plant through capillary actions. More complex root systems will add tubers that store water and nutrients that the fibrous stems collect. Tubers also have on their surface small, almost invisible, scaly leaves containing a bud that can form a new plant. An example of a tuber is a potato. The "eyes" of the potato are the buds. A corm is similar to a tuber but has large, scaly leaves and solid flesh. An example of a corm is the root system of the gladiolus plant. Tubers and corms are often called bulbs. However, true bulbs consist of layered leaves. An example of a true bulb is an onion.

Some plants exist in colonies with simple roots or tubers connected by a tube-like part called a rhizome. Rhizomes will often store nutrients and water like a tuber or corm. Root systems containing rhizomes are said to be rhizomic systems. The term rootstock usually refers to a rhizomic root system. An example of a plant that uses rhizomes is the rhubarb. One rhubarb plant will soon spawn other rhubarb plants to form a colony connected by rhizomes. If one or more rhizomes are cut, the now separated plants will still thrive.

Click here to go to the top of this page

Taxonomy

The scientific classification of plants, taxonomy, can be controversial. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) classifications are used for this website. Detailed descriptions and classifications of plants can be viewed at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service website: http://plants.usda.gov. Be prepared to enter the scientific or common name of the plant for which you wish to obtain detailed information. This USDA website is highly recommended.

Click here to go to the top of this page

Specific Flora

Click on one of the categories below to obtain detailed information about specific plants in or around French Hill Pond.

Submersed Plants
Submersed Plants
Floating Leaved Plants
Floating-leaved Plants
Emergent Plants
Emergent Plants
Field Plants
Field Plants
Trees
Trees
Woodland Plants
Woodland Plants

 

Click here to download a Microsoft Excel file containing a complete list of plants that are known to grow in Maine. You may use your spreadsheet program to reorder or search this list. This list is from the United States Department of Agriculture plant database.

 

Use the Genus and species name to access detailed information about a plant at http://plants.usda.gov. Type or copy the Genus name (remember the Genus name begins with an uppercase letter) and species name into the Name Search box and click Go.

 

The list also contains the plant symbol common to most plant databases and the most common name for the plant. You may also use the plant symbol or common name to access the plant's information. However, be sure to change the identifier in the drop-down box next to Go from Scientific Name to Symbol or Common Name.

 

Click here to go to the top of this page

French Hill Pond Home Page