The plants of the world can be divided into those which produce flowers and those that do not. Flowering plants, the angiosperms, are the most abundant and familiar plants on earth; they occur in habitats from Polar Regions to deserts, and include trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and grasses. The nonflowering plants, gymnosperms, include conifers and cycads which bear cones containing seeds. It can be said that all flowering plants produce seeds, but not all seed-producing plants bear flowers.

Flowers are the reproductive structures that produce new plants. Trees reproduce by producing flowers, which are self-pollinated or cross- pollinated by insects, animals or wind, and develop fruits bearing seeds. In addition to sexual reproduction, some trees, also naturally reproduce vegetatively by producing basal offshoots, others are stimulated to resprout from their trunk when cut and many can be propagated from woody cuttings. Whatever the case, the tree produces flowers.

Trees are scientifically classified based upon floral characteristics; flowers represent the most variable and complex organs of a tree. Flowering trees are divided into two large groups: monocotyledons which produce a single seed leaf, and a single growing point, parallel veins in their leaves and flower parts in multiples of three. An example is the Thatch Palm (Thrinax radiata), a Florida native. The other group are the dicotyledons, which produce two seed leafs, hence multiple growing points, leaves with branching netlike veins and flower parts in groups of four or five. The Locust Berry tree (Byrsonima lucida) is a native Florida dicotyledon. Flowering trees are also distinguished as to whether they bear male and female flowers on the same tree (monoecious), for example, the Crabwood (Gymnanthes lucida) native to Florida. Most trees are monoecious. Or, male and female flowers are borne on separate trees (dioecious), thus there are exclusively male and female trees. Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera) is a dioecious native Florida tree. In cultivating sea grape, a male tree must be growing in proximity to a female in order for the female flowers to be pollinated and the tree to bear fruit.

A tree flower is described as being complete if it possess all floral parts: petals, sepals, stamens and the pistil. Incomplete flowers lack one of more of those parts. Flowers are described as being staminate (male) if they lack a pistil or pistillate (female) if they lack a stamen. Flowers are borne at the branch tip, middle or base, most often in clusters of multiple blooms. Colors are highly variable, ranging from white to dark purple. Individual flower size vary from miniscule (under 1⁄4 inch wide) as in the Brazilian Jaboticaba Tree (Myrciaria cauliflora), to large (up to 12 inches wide) in the Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). All of these floral characters, and others, are used in precise botanical species identification and description. TreeWorld takes great pride in the wide variety of flowering trees it has in stock. No other plant, large or small, can rival a tree cloaked with colorful blooms to give beauty and character to a landscape, private or public.

Post a comment