Plant Family

Definition - What does Plant Family mean?

A plant family is simply a collection of plants that share characteristics grouped together. Plants can be categorized by similar features, including overall appearance, seed groupings, flower shape, and more, to show their relationship to one another.

MaximumYield explains Plant Family

Plants, like animals, share common ancestors. Over time, they have diverged from one another, although many share similar characteristics and features. Scientists classify plant species by genus, family, and then major groups.

All plant families have Latin names that end with the suffix – aceae or ae. For example, acanthaceae and linaceae, or apiaceae (celery and carrot) and brassicaceae (cabbages and other related plants).

Each family can contain a wide range of individual species within it. For example, the nightshade family includes not only the poisonous deadly nightshade, but also the humble potato, and tomatoes, as well. Amaranth includes tumble pigweed, prostrate pigweed, and redroot pigweed. The birch family includes the mountain alder, the Sitka alder, and the western birch.

Understanding how a particular species of plant relates to others within its family is important for all forms of growing and gardening because it can provide information about aspects of plant care. For instance, if you know that a particular type of plant is a member of a certain family that requires more nitrogen in the soil, you can amend your garden soil to ensure healthy growth. If you know that a particular family of plants is more susceptible to a particular type of pest, fungus, or mold, you can take preventative steps to eradicate or control those threats.

Crop rotation can also be enhanced by knowing the family of a particular plant. For instance, you can grow legumes (the fabaceae family) to add nitrogen to the soil after growing plants that are heavy nitrogen users to replenish the soil’s health naturally.

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