• The Banksia Genus

    The Banksia Genus

    Banksia is a genus of shrubs, trees and shrubby trees within the Protaceae family, along with warratahs, grevilleas and proteas. Like many other members, these plants provide great food for pollinators such as lorikeets, rosellas, bats, possums and invertebrates. Description A fluffy or fuzzy inflorescence called a spike or candle exists at the terminal tip on the branch. As the bisexual flowers (in pairs of 2)...
  • The Protea Genus

    The Protea Genus

    Named after Proteus, the Greek god who could change his form at will, the variance of forms within this genus is impressive. Protea is the type genus of its family, Protaceae. Other members of the family include waratahs, grevilleas and banksias. Like those genera, protea are often pollinated by birds, small marsupials and invertebrates. Unlike those genera which originate in Australia, the proteas are from southern...
  • Proteaceae, The Protea Family

    Proteaceae, The Protea Family

    Members of the dicotyledonous protea family largely originate from the southern hemisphere, especially Australia and southern Africa. Even though we tend to lump them all in as "natives" in Australia, some of them originate overseas, most notable proteas. The banksias, grevilleas, waratahs and macadamias are examples of Aussie natives, though there are many other truly native branches of the family that fly under the...
  • Ficus, The Fig Genus

    Ficus, The Fig Genus

    The Ficus genus is home to around 850 species of plants in the dicotyledenous Moraceae family that come in a range of shapes and sizes, but can most easily be recognised by their round or pear-shaped fruit or infructescence (inflorescence before pollination). Plants in this genus can be sensitive to location change; perhaps if you’ve ever taken a rubber plant home from the nursery and it...
  • Moraceae, The Fig/Mulberry Family

    Moraceae, The Fig/Mulberry Family

    On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be much that holds this family together as a group. It certainly wouldn’t seem obvious that figs and mulberries belong in the same family at first glance, at least not to me. Description Members can come in all shapes and sizes including vines and shrubs, but this family is generally associated with trees. The main thing these...
  • Araceae, The Aroid Family

    Araceae, The Aroid Family

    Plants in the Araceae family, colloquially known as aroids, are usually pretty easy to identify, especially if you can see "one" of their “flowers” (actually an inflorescence). Monstera deliciosa is an example of an aroid with an edible fruit, however it’s important to note that the fruit must fully ripen which can take up to a year, because under-ripe monstera fruits can be toxic.  Monstera deliciosa immature composite...
  • Crassulaceae, The Stonecrop Family

    Crassulaceae, The Stonecrop Family

    Crassulas, stonecrops or hen-and-chicks, are the typical plant one thinks of when we hear the word "succulent". In fact, not all succulent plants are crassulas, and not all crassulas are succulent (though the vast majority are). They are usually desert dwellers that love plenty of sun and well-draining soil; just don’t keep their feet wet for too long as this is the quickest way...
  • Cactaceae, The Cactus Family

    Cactaceae, The Cactus Family

    Probably the most famous desert-dwelling plant family, the cacti family are a group of dicots native to the Americas. There are 127 genera in this clade with 1750 known species in total. When we look at a cactus, it can be hard to decide which part is the leaf and which is the stem. Cactaceae plants have evolved to change up the roles of...
  • Orchidaceae, The Orchid Family

    Orchidaceae, The Orchid Family

    There are few flowers that inspire the type of awe that orchids do. They come in some seriously weird and wacky forms and I’m not quite sure there’s such a thing as an ordinary orchid, unless you’re comparing it against other orchids. All orchids belong to a single family of monocots, Orchidaceae. You might find members growing in the soil or living as an epiphyte...
  • Arecaceae, The Palm Family

    Arecaceae, The Palm Family

    Palms are a family consisting of evergreen monocotyledonous trees, shrubs and climbers with characteristic compound leaves known as fronds. Even though they do not resemble other trees in the dicot and gymnosperm classes in the way those plants display true secondary (lateral) growth, palms sometimes display "anomalous secondary growth" where individual cells enlarge to thicken the trunk without a vascular cambium. They tend to...
  • The Citrus Genus

    The Citrus Genus

    Citrus plants belong to a single genus native to Southeast Asia, Australia and Melanesia within the dicotyledonous Rutaceae family. These plants are known as being easily hybridisable, hence a lot of varieties are hybrids of multiple species. Description Plants within this genus generally have the habit of a shrub or tree.
  • Callistemon & Melaleuca, The Bottle Brush Genera

    Callistemon & Melaleuca, The Bottle Brush Genera

    Bottle brushes are in the Myrtaceae family along with eucalypts and lilly pillies. It’s contended whether or not Callistemon group is worthy of being described as a separate genus from the Melaluca group due to the fact that they are very similar. Because of this, they’ve been combined into a single post here. These plants are full of camphoraceous essetial oils and are responsible for tea tree oil....
  • Eucalyptus, The Gum Tree Genus

    Eucalyptus, The Gum Tree Genus

    Eucalypts are plants within 7 genera of the myrtle family Myrtaceae that share a number of characteristics, and are native to Australia and a select few other nearby countries and islands. They produce the medicinal eucalyptus oil which is anti biotic and anti viral medicine for external use, as well as being a nasal decongestant. Nothing says "Australia" quite like a good, old gum tree,...
  • Myrtaceae, The Myrtle Family

    Myrtaceae, The Myrtle Family

    The myrtle family are a dicotoledenous group with members found across the world, with some noteworthy Aussie varieties. Description They are known for shedding bark, which may or may not be peeling off the stems depending on the species and time of year. This can be normal for these plants as long as it is natural and not mechanical (physical) damage. You can prune...
  • Rosaceae, The Rose Family

    Rosaceae, The Rose Family

    The rose family is a family of flowering dicots that are considered to be one of the most important plant families economically speaking. Under its umbrella are examples such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, almonds, strawberries, blackberries, and of course roses. Description Family members vary in size from tiny wildflowers to large fruit trees. They’re often woody with a few herbaceous plants thrown in...
  • Brassicaceae, The Brassica/Mustard Family

    Brassicaceae, The Brassica/Mustard Family

    The brassica family, also known as the mustard or cruciferous family, is an economically important group of dicotyledonous plants that probably makes up a part of your everyday diet. Family members are generally small herbaceous plants but there are some shrubby varieties and even a few vines as well. Description Bisexual, radially symmetrical flowers are often bright yellow, though they’re sometimes light yellow, purple,...
  • Asteraceae, The Aster Family

    Asteraceae, The Aster Family

    The Asteracaea family, also known colloquially as the asters, is a great dicot plant family to learn early on in your plant identification journey because their flowers are very interesting. The family includes genera (plural of genus) such as daisies, sunflowers, thistles and dandelions, which have members everywhere. A disproportionate number of the weeds we fight against are from the aster family. But even though we...
  • The Lomandra Genus

    The Lomandra Genus

    The Lomandra genus is a clade within the asparagus family Asparagaceae filled with Aussie native plants that are commonly called "strappies". A few varieties are widely planted throughout Australia because they are drought-resistant, and pretty difficult to kill. They’re often planted in the wrong spot. They really do look best when they’re allowed to go strappy; if you’ve planted them along a driveway and keep them...
  • Asparagaceae, The Asparagus Family

    Asparagaceae, The Asparagus Family

    The asparagus family Asparagaceae was one of the monocotyledonous families that were split off from the lily family Liliaceae, along with other unrelated plants such as Amaryllis spp. and Agapanthus spp. Description Members of this family can differ quite a lot in appearance so it’s hard to give a single description for all plants; they tend to have tightly bunched nodes, internodes and leaves,...
  • Amaryllidaceae, The Amaryllis Family

    Amaryllidaceae, The Amaryllis Family

    Formerly a member of the lily family Liliaceae, these plants have a lot in common with that family. Description Herbaceous perennial plants are the norm, and they can often allow what’s above the ground to die off each year while their bulb lives on, such as Amarallis spp. Other varieties can have foliage that lives year-round such as Agapanthus spp. They can be very easy to mix up...
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