What Is A Perennial?

A perennial is a plant that grows year after year. They are not annuals or biennials because they do not flower every year like most other plants. Most perennials have leaves that will die back completely each spring, but some may grow new ones. Some perennials only live one season before dying out, while others can survive several years without any water at all! There are many different kinds of perennials. Some are easy to identify, such as dahlias and chamomile. Others are less obvious, such as the evergreen dogwood (Taraxacum officinale). Still others may look similar from afar, but if you get close enough you’ll see that they’re very different. For example, the evergreen dogwood looks like a small tree with long slender branches growing up into the sky. But it’s actually a shrub with no trunk. You might think that the evergreen dogwood would be easy to grow, but its roots are so deep that they can reach down into the earth and even underground. These roots make it difficult to transplant them, let alone cut them off. If you try to pull them up, they just shoot back up again!

The Evergreen Dogwood ( Taraxacum officinale ) is native to Europe and Asia Minor. I know this is a pretty long name, but it’s easier to just call it the Evergreen Dogwood or the Thistle. The berries that the plant bears are purple and they’re the source of the popular Tartaric Acid that you might recognize from your favorite brand of baking powder.

The Common Mallow ( Malva Sylvestris ) is native to Europe, northern Africa, and Asia Minor. It is a very popular plant in many places, but it is not fussy about where it grows in. As long as the climate is right, this plant can grow anywhere! It’s not picky about the soil or the amount of sunlight it gets, either. The Common Mallow bears white flowers and its leaves are round and lobed.

These plants don’t have a strong odor and most people are indifferent to the way they smell. This plant spreads quickly, as the flowers can be self-pollinated. It is important however, to remind people that these plants are not related to the hollyhock (another popular plant known for its round leaves and lobes).

The Rosebay Rhododendron ( Rhododendron Catawbiense ) is a very popular garden flower in many parts of the world. It is indigenous to North America and it is easy to see why people like it so much. Its flowers come in a variety of colors, from white to red. It is easy to transplant and doesn’t need much attention. Most people just plant the rhododendron and it takes care of itself.

The only thing you really have to do is provide it with water and fertilizer every once in awhile. It has been introduced into many parts of the world and some people think this was a mistake.

Sources & references used in this article:

Herbaceous perennial plants: A treatise on their identification, culture, and garden attributes by AM Armitage – 2008 – books.google.com

Differences in biomass allocation to reproductive and vegetative structures of male and female plants of a dioecious, perennial herb, Silene alba (Miller) Krause by KL Gross, JD Soule – American Journal of Botany, 1981 – Wiley Online Library

Perennial Garden Color by WC Welch – 2013 – aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu

Traditional uses of perennial homestead garden plants in Bangladesh by M Millat-e-Mustafa, Z Teklehaimanot… – Forests, Trees and …, 2002 – Taylor & Francis

Strategies to force flowering of six herbaceous garden perennials by RR Iversen, TC Weiler – HortTechnology, 1994 – journals.ashs.org

Energy allocations in annual and perennial lupines (Lupinus: Leguminosae) by LF Pitelka – Ecology, 1977 – Wiley Online Library

Host genotype and age shape the leaf and root microbiomes of a wild perennial plant by MR Wagner, DS Lundberg, G Tijana, SG Tringe… – Nature …, 2016 – nature.com

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