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  • Fruit | Britannica.com
    fruit of either of two closely related trees belonging to the family Moraceae One of these Artocarpus communis also called A incisa or A altilis provides a staple food of the South Pacific The tree grows 12 to 18 metres 40 to 60 feet high and Chapman John missionary nurseryman of the North American frontier who helped prepare the way for 19th century pioneers by supplying apple tree nursery stock throughout the Middle West Although the legendary character of Johnny Appleseed is known chiefly through cherry any of various tree s belonging to the genus Prunus and their edible fruit s Commercial production includes sour cherries Prunus cerasus which are frozen or canned and used in sauces and pastries and sweet cherries P avium which are usually citron Citrus medica small evergreen tree or shrub in the family Rutaceae cultivated in Mediterranean countries and the West Indies It grows to about 3 5 m 11 5 feet high and has irregular spreading spiny branches The leaves are large pale green custard apple any of various Annona species of small trees or shrubs of the Annonaceae family native to the New World tropics and Florida or their fruits The fruit of the common custard apple A reticulata also called sugar apple or bullock s heart in the West durian Durio zibethinus tree of the hibiscus or mallow family Malvaceae and its fruit The durian is cultivated in Indonesia the Philippines Malaysia and southern Thailand The tree has oblong tapering leaves rounded at the base and yellowish green feijoa Feijoa sellowiana small tree of the family Myrtaceae related to the guava and often called pineapple guava It is native to southern Brazil Paraguay Uruguay and parts of Argentina and is cultivated in mild dry climates for its fruit The feijoa fig plant

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/topic-browse/Plants/Fruit (2016-02-13)
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  • Gymnosperms | Britannica.com
    15 metres about 40 to 50 feet tall the arartree Araucaria genus of about 19 species of pinelike coniferous plants in the family Araucariaceae The trees are magnificent evergreens with apparently whorled branches and stiff flattened pointed leaves They are found in Brazil Chile New Guinea New Caledonia arborvitae Thuja Latin tree of life any of the five species of the genus Thuja resinous evergreen ornamental and timber conifers of the cypress family Cupressaceae native to North America and eastern Asia A closely related genus is false arborvitae bald cypress either of two species of ornamental and timber conifers constituting the genus Taxodium family Cupressaceae native to swampy areas of southern North America The name bald cypress or swamp cypress is used most frequently as the common name for T Bowenia a genus of two species of palmlike Australian cycads evergreen perennial plants of the family Zamiaceae Each is tuberous in form with a subterranean stem resembling a gigantic carrot 20 to 30 cm 8 to 12 inches long The leaves are two times pinnately bread palm any of about 65 species of Encephalartos cycads family Zamiaceae native to Africa The name is derived from a breadlike foodstuff prepared from the mealy starchy centre of the stem and perhaps also from the seeds which have fleshy coverings Some bristlecone pine species Pinus longaeva and P aristata either of two species of small pine trees ranging from about 5 to 16 metres 15 to 50 feet in height and belonging to the family Pinaceae The species are native to the Rocky Mountains and other ranges of the Brown Robert Scottish botanist best known for his descriptions of cell nuclei and of the continuous motion of minute particles in solution which came to be called Brownian motion In addition he recognized the fundamental distinction between gymnosperms conifers bunya pine species Araucaria bidwillii large evergreen conifer of the family Araucariaceae native to Australia but used in the sapling stage as a houseplant in many areas The tree is native to humid areas in southeastern Queensland It grows to heights of California nutmeg Torreya californica an ornamental evergreen tree of the yew family Taxaceae found naturally only in California Growing to a height of 24 m about 79 feet or more the tree bears spreading slightly drooping branches Although pyramidal in shape Cathaya genus of evergreen coniferous trees of the family Pinaceae containing two living species native to China and one fossil species found in Germany Both living forms are about 20 metres 65 feet tall and have two types of branchlets long terminal shoots cedar any of four species of ornamental and timber evergreen conifers of the genus Cedrus family Pinaceae three native to mountainous areas of the Mediterranean region and one to the western Himalayas Many other coniferous trees known as cedars resemble celery top pine species Phyllocladus asplenifolius slow growing ornamental and timber conifer of the family Phyllocladaceae placed in the Podocarpaceae family by some botanists native to temperate rain forests

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/topic-browse/Plants/Gymnosperms (2016-02-13)
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  • Nonvascular Plants | Britannica.com
    are borne on separate plants extinguisher moss any of the plants of the genus Encalypta subclass Bryidae which form large tufts on limestone rocks ledges and walls About 8 of the 34 species in the genus are native to North America They are usually 1 to 3 cm 0 4 to 1 2 inches tall with erect feather moss Ptilium formerly Hypnum crista castrensis the only species of the genus Ptilium it is a widely distributed plant of the subclass Bryidae that forms dense light green mats on rocks rotten wood or peaty soil especially in mountain forests of the fern moss genus Thuidium any of several species of plants subclass Bryidae that form mats in grassy areas and on soil rocks logs and tree bases throughout the Northern Hemisphere Fewer than 10 of the 73 species are native to North America A fern moss fringe moss any of the plants of the genus Grimmia subclass Bryidae which includes more than 100 species distributed throughout the world primarily on rocks or stone walls A few species grow on roofs or in streams G maritima forms cushions up to four centimetres granite moss any of the plants of the order Andreaeales of the subclass Andreaeidae comprising a single family Andreaeaceae which includes the genus Andreaea with fewer than 100 species including A fuegiana which formerly made up the separate genus of Neuroloma hair cap moss any of the plants of the genus Polytrichum subclass Bryidae with 39 100 species it often forms large mats in peat bogs old fields and areas with high soil acidity About 10 species are found in North America The most widely distributed species horn tooth moss any plant of the genus Ceratodon about 5 species in the subclass Bryidae The most abundant of the species C

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/topic-browse/Plants/Nonvascular-Plants (2016-02-13)
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  • Nuts | Britannica.com
    oil extracted from it and for the resulting residue coconut oil cake which is used mostly for livestock feed Copra dika nut edible nut of the dika tree which is also called the dika bread or Gabon chocolate tree species Irvingia barteri and is native to western Africa The nut is used principally for food and oil The fruit of the dika is a large edible drupe with thick doum nut the nut of the doum palm Hyphaene thebaica native to Upper Egypt Sudan South Sudan Kenya and Tanzania Also called the gingerbread palm the 15 2 metre 50 foot tree has a slender trunk and smooth branches each tipped with a rosette of small kola nut caffeine containing nut of Cola acuminata and Cola nitida trees of the cocoa family Sterculiaceae native to tropical Africa and cultivated extensively in the American tropics The evergreen tree grows to 18 3 metres 60 feet and resembles the chestnut macadamia Macadamia any of about 10 species of ornamental evergreen tree belonging to the family Proteaceae producing an edible richly flavoured dessert nut Macadamias originated in the coastal rain forests and scrubs of what is now Queensland in northeastern palm chestnut edible nut of the peach palm Bactris gasipaes or in some classifications Guilielma gasipaes family Arecaceae Palmae that is grown extensively from Central America as far south as Ecuador The typical 18 metre 60 foot mature peach palm bears peanut the pod or legume of Arachis hypogaea family Fabaceae which has the peculiar habit of ripening underground Despite its several common names it is not a true nut It is a concentrated food pound for pound peanuts have more protein minerals pecan Carya illinoinensis or illinoensis nut and tree of the walnut family Juglandaceae native to temperate North America The tree occasionally

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/topic-browse/Plants/Nuts (2016-02-13)
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  • Trees | Britannica.com
    scientific and educational purposes An arboretum may be a collection in its own right or a part of a botanical garden Important U S arboretums include the Arnold Arboretum arborvitae Thuja Latin tree of life any of the five species of the genus Thuja resinous evergreen ornamental and timber conifers of the cypress family Cupressaceae native to North America and eastern Asia A closely related genus is false arborvitae Archaeopteris genus of plants that was probably the first true tree to form forests during the Late Devonian Epoch about 385 to 359 million years ago Fossils of Archaeopteris confirm the presence of a woody trunk and branching patterns similar to those of modern ash Fraxinus any of the trees or shrubs in the genus Fraxinus family Oleaceae The genus is primarily distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere It includes several dozen species some of which are valuable for their timber and beauty A few species aspen any of three trees of the genus Populus belonging to the willow family Salicaceae native to the Northern Hemisphere and known for the fluttering of leaves in the slightest breeze Aspens grow farther north and higher up the mountains than other Populus babassu palm Attalea martiana A oleifera or A speciosa tall palm tree with feathery leaves that grows wild in tropical northeastern Brazil The kernels of its hard shelled nuts are the source of babassu oil similar in properties and uses to coconut oil and bald cypress either of two species of ornamental and timber conifers constituting the genus Taxodium family Cupressaceae native to swampy areas of southern North America The name bald cypress or swamp cypress is used most frequently as the common name for T bark in woody plants tissues external to the vascular cambium the growth layer of the vascular cylinder

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/topic-browse/Plants/Trees (2016-02-13)
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  • Vegetables | Britannica.com
    cabbage Brassica oleracea vegetable and fodder plant of the mustard family Brassicaceae the various agricultural forms of which have been developed by long cultivation from the wild cabbage Brassica oleracea The edible portions of all cabbage forms which carrot Daucus carota herbaceous generally biennial plant of the Apiaceae family that produces an edible taproot Among common varieties root shapes range from globular to long with lower ends blunt to pointed Besides the orange coloured roots white yellow cassava Manihot esculenta tuberous edible plant of the spurge family Euphorbiaceae from the American tropics It is cultivated throughout the tropical world for its tuberous roots from which cassava flour breads tapioca a laundry starch and an alcoholic cauliflower Brassica oleracea variety botrytis highly modified form of cabbage in the mustard family Brassicaceae grown for its edible masses of partially developed flower structures and fleshy stalks Cauliflower is high in vitamins C and K and is frequently celery species Apium graveolens herb of the family Apiaceae Umbelliferae Native to the Mediterranean areas and the Middle East celery was used as a flavouring by the ancient Greeks and Romans and as a medicine by the ancient Chinese The ancient forms chickpea Cicer arietinum annual plant of the pea family Fabaceae widely grown for its nutritious seeds The bushy 60 cm 2 foot plants bear pinnate leaves and small white or reddish flowers The yellow brown beans are borne one or two to a pod Chickpeas chicory cichorium intybus blue flowered perennial plant of the family Asteraceae When cultivated its leaves are eaten as a vegetable or salad or its roasted and ground roots are used as a flavouring additive in or substitute for coffee Native to Europe and Chinese cabbage either of two widely cultivated members of the mustard family Brassicaceae that are varieties

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/topic-browse/Plants/Vegetables (2016-02-13)
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  • Plants - 3 | Britannica.com
    family of flowering plants order Caryophyllales comprising some 86 genera and 2 200 species of herbaceous annuals and perennials mainly of north temperate distribution The members are diverse in appearance and habitat most Caryophyllales pink or carnation order of dicotyledonous flowering plants The order includes 33 families which contain more than 11 000 species in 692 genera Nearly half of the families are very small with less than a dozen species each Caryophyllales is a diverse cashew Anacardium occidentale the characteristically curved edible seed or nut of the domesticated cashew tree The tropical and subtropical evergreen shrub or tree is native to the New World but commercially cultivated mainly in Brazil and India The nut cassava Manihot esculenta tuberous edible plant of the spurge family Euphorbiaceae from the American tropics It is cultivated throughout the tropical world for its tuberous roots from which cassava flour breads tapioca a laundry starch and an alcoholic Casuarinaceae the beefwood family of dicotyledonous flowering plants with two genera Casuarina 30 species Gymnostoma 20 species of trees and shrubs many of which have a distinctly pinelike aspect when seen from afar They are naturally distributed in tropical cecropia Cecropia several species of tropical tree of the family Cecropiaceae common to the understory layer of disturbed forest habitats of Central and South America It is easily recognized by its thin white ringed trunk and umbrella like arrangement of large cedar any of four species of ornamental and timber evergreen conifers of the genus Cedrus family Pinaceae three native to mountainous areas of the Mediterranean region and one to the western Himalayas Many other coniferous trees known as cedars resemble celandine any of several distinct flowering plants of similar appearance mostly members of the poppy family Papaveraceae The greater celandine Chelidonium majus is native to deciduous woods of Europe and Asia and is grown as a garden wildflower Once a valued Celastrales small order of flowering plants that includes 3 families some 100 genera and about 1 350 species In the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group II APG II botanical classification system Celastrales is placed in the Rosid I clade see angiosperm Celastraceae celery species Apium graveolens herb of the family Apiaceae Umbelliferae Native to the Mediterranean areas and the Middle East celery was used as a flavouring by the ancient Greeks and Romans and as a medicine by the ancient Chinese The ancient forms Ceratophyllales hornwort order of flowering plants consisting of a single family Ceratophyllaceae with one cosmopolitan genus Ceratophyllum containing 10 species Species of Ceratophyllum called hornworts for their spiny fruits are submerged aquatic plants that Cesalpino Andrea Italian physician philosopher and botanist who sought a philosophical and theoretical approach to plant classification based on unified and coherent principles rather than on alphabetical sequence or medicinal properties He helped establish botany chaparral vegetation composed of broad leaved evergreen shrubs bushes and small trees usually less than 2 5 m about 8 feet tall together they often form dense thickets Chaparral is found in regions with a climate similar to that of the Mediterranean area cherimoya Annona cherimola tree of the custard apple family Annonaceae of the order Magnoliales It is native to frost free higher elevations throughout tropical America and is widely cultivated in the Old World tropics for its pulpy edible fruits weighing cherry any of various tree s belonging to the genus Prunus and their edible fruit s Commercial production includes sour cherries Prunus cerasus which are frozen or canned and used in sauces and pastries and sweet cherries P avium which are usually chestnut any of four species of deciduous ornamental and timber trees of the genus Castanea in the beech family Fagaceae native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere the burlike fruits of which contain two or three edible nuts The remaining six chestnut oak any of several species of North American timber trees with chestnutlike leaves belonging to the white oak group of the genus Quercus in the beech family Fagaceae Specifically chestnut oak refers to Q prinus or Q montana also called rock chestnut chicory cichorium intybus blue flowered perennial plant of the family Asteraceae When cultivated its leaves are eaten as a vegetable or salad or its roasted and ground roots are used as a flavouring additive in or substitute for coffee Native to Europe and chimera in botany a plant or plant part that is a mixture of two or more genetically different types of cells A chimera may be a graft hybrid a bud that in plant grafting appears at the junction of the scion and stock and contains tissues of both plants chinquapin any of several species of deciduous trees of the genus Castanea and evergreen trees and shrubs of the genus Castanopsis both in the beech family Fagaceae Chinquapins in Castanea differ from chestnuts to which they are closely related in having Chloranthales order of flowering plants a basal branch of the angiosperm tree consisting of 1 family Chloranthaceae with 4 genera Ascarina Chloranthus Hedyosmum and Sarcandra and about 75 species Chloranthaceae appears very early in the flowering plant fossil cholla any cylindroid jointed cactus of the genus Opuntia family Cactaceae native to North and South America Chollas vary in size from the small O pulchella which is almost never noticed except when blooming to small trees about 3 m 10 feet in height Christmas rose species Helleborus niger small poisonous perennial herb of the buttercup family Ranunculaceae known for its tendency to bloom from late autumn to early spring often in the snow It has evergreen compound leaves of seven or more leaflets arranged cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum bushy evergreen tree of the laurel family Lauraceae native to Sri Lanka Ceylon the neighbouring Malabar Coast of India and Myanmar Burma and also cultivated in South America and the West Indies for the spice consisting of Clements Frederic Edward American botanist taxonomist and ecologist who influenced the early study of plant communities particularly the process of plant succession Clements was educated at the University of

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/topic-browse/Plants/3 (2016-02-13)
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  • Plants - 4 | Britannica.com
    heavy almost black and derived from heartwood only Because of its colour durability hardness and ability to take a high eggplant Solanum melongena tender perennial plant of the nightshade family Solanaceae grown for its edible fruits Eggplant requires a warm climate and has been cultivated in its native Southeast Asia since remote antiquity A staple in cuisines of the Mediterranean Eichler August Wilhelm German botanist who developed one of the first widely used natural systems of plant classification Eichler studied mathematics and natural science at the University of Marburg Ph D 1861 He then went to Munich where he became a private assistant Elaeagnaceae the oleaster family of dicotyledonous flowering plants which together with the family Proteaceae constitutes the order Proteales The oleaster family comprises three genera of shrubs and small trees of the Northern Hemisphere especially in steppe and elder any of about 10 species mainly shrubs and small trees constituting the genus Sambucus of the family Adoxaceae Most are native to forested temperate or subtropical areas of both hemispheres They are important as garden shrubs as forest plants and elm genus Ulmus any of about 18 species of forest and ornamental shade trees of the family Ulmaceae native primarily to North Temperate areas Many are cultivated for their height and attractive foliage Elm leaves are doubly toothed and often lopsided Endlicher Stephan Austrian botanist who formulated a major system of plant classification Endlicher turned from the study of theology to that of natural history and medicine while at the Universities of Budapest and Vienna M D 1840 In 1836 he became curator of the endosperm tissue that surrounds and nourishes the embryo in the angiosperm seed The initiation of endosperm is a definitive characteristic of angiosperms and requires the fusion of at least one nucleus in the embryo sac with a sperm nucleus from the pollen grain Engler Adolf German botanist famous for his system of plant classification and for his expertise as a plant geographer Engler obtained a Ph D from the University of Breslau now Wrocław in 1866 After four years of teaching he became in 1871 custodian of botanical English yew Taxus baccata all three are lumber trade names an ornamental evergreen tree or shrub of the yew family Taxaceae widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia as far east as the Himalayas Some botanists consider the Himalayan form to be a separate Eospermatopteris genus of plants known from fossil stumps discovered in the 1870s near Gilboa N Y U S Eospermatopteris trunks were discovered upright as they would have grown in life and occurred in dense stands in the marshy lowlands near an ancient inland sea ephemeral in botany any short lived plant usually one that has one or more generations per year growing only during favourable periods as when adequate moisture is available and passing the unfavourable periods in the form of seeds The seed coats of some epidermis in botany outermost protoderm derived layer of cells covering the stem root leaf flower fruit and seed parts of a plant The epidermis and its waxy cuticle provide a protective barrier against mechanical injury water loss and infection Various epiphyte any plant that grows upon or is in some manner attached to another plant or object merely for physical support Epiphytes are primarily tropical in distribution and are often known as air plants because they have no attachment to the ground or other Equisetopsida division Pteridophyta class of primitive spore bearing vascular plants Most members of the group are extinct and known only from their fossilized remains The sole living genus Equisetum order Equisetales is made up of 15 species of very ancient Ericales rhododendron order of flowering plants containing 25 families 346 genera and more than 11 000 species The relationships of the order are unclear It belongs to neither of the two major asterid groups Asterids I or Asterids II but with Cornales Esau Katherine Russian born American botanist who did groundbreaking work in the structure and workings of plants Her Plant Anatomy is a classic in the field Esau was born to a Mennonite family of German descent When the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 cut short her esparto either of two species of gray green needlegrasses Stipa tenacissima and Lygeum spartum that are indigenous to southern Spain and northern Africa the term also denotes the fibre produced by esparto L spartum which has stiff rushlike leaves grows Eucalyptus large genus of mostly very large trees of the myrtle family Myrtaceae native to Australia Tasmania and nearby islands More than 500 species have been described In Australia the eucalypti are commonly known as gum trees or stringybark trees Many Eucommiaceae family of dicotyledonous flowering plants comprising the single species Eucommia ulmoides in the order Garryales It is an elmlike tree native to temperate regions of central and eastern China that is notable for its milky latex from which rubber can Euonymus genus of about 170 species of shrubs woody climbers and small trees in the staff tree family Celastraceae native to temperate Asia North America and Europe The genus includes many popular landscape ornamental shrubs and ground covers Winter Euphorbiaceae spurge family of flowering plants in the order Malpighiales containing some 7 500 species in 275 genera Many members are important food sources others are useful for their waxes and oils and as a source of medicinal drugs dangerous for their poisonous evergreen any plant that retains its leaves through the year and into the following growing season Many tropical species of broad leaved flowering plants are evergreen but in cold temperate and Arctic areas the evergreens commonly are cone bearing shrubs or Fabales order of dicotyledonous flowering plants in the Rosid I group among the core eudicots The order comprises 4 families Fabaceae Polygalaceae Quillajaceae and Surianaceae 754 genera and more than 20 000 species However more than 95 percent of Fagales beech order of dicotyledonous woody flowering plants comprising nearly 1 900 species in 55 genera Members of Fagales represent some

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/topic-browse/Plants/4 (2016-02-13)
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