Each plant has two types of names by which it may be referenced, or classified. One is the Scientific Name (or Species Name) which is unique and consists of two parts: The capitalized genus, followed by the lower case specific epithet, both of which are Latinized, and either italicized or underlined. The other is the Common Name, and while often easier to remember, it may not be unique to that plant, or a given plant may have several different Common Names. In addition, the capitalized Scientific Family Name of the plant is listed in parentheses, and is Latinized by ending in the letters -aceae; this is followed by the Common Family Name. A genus consists of one or more species, and a family likewise consists of one or more genera.


The indented fields below comprise features that contribute to the ornamental appeal of a plant: Its whole plant appearance, horticultural care, and identification traits.


The indented fields below are items that help to formulate decisions affecting the proper choice, design, and maintenance of a given plant in a specific landscape.


Once a specific plant species is proposed for installation in a specific landscape, two factors may contribute to an alteration of the choice. First, an alternative species may have to be selected due to various factors relating to the preferred species (including high price, poor quality, low availability, and potential liabilities); or, variation on the theme of the selected species may be available to offer different forms of the original choice (usually in the form of cultivars [cultivated varieties]).


The indented fields below encompass remaining items of interest about a plant.


Please note that all descriptions in the Pocket Gardener are based upon observations from the Columbus, Ohio area (latitude 40 degrees north, longitude 83 degrees west, borderline between USDA Hardiness Zones 5 and 6, neutral to slightly alkaline pH topsoils, with light brown clay subsoils, and about 38 inches of rainfall per year), and while broadly applicable to other climates of the world, differences will occur in plant growth based upon local differences in soil, seasonal temperature and rainfall patterns, regional nursery sources, etc. In addition, while all attempts are made to ensure accuracy in descriptions, observations, and spelling, errors do occur, hopefully at a minimal level. Finally, the current choice of the limited number of plants photographed and described at this website primarily reflects a combination of the teaching palette for students of The Ohio State University, the available images, and the limited time of the staff, photographers, and author to assemble these plants into packageable entries on the web server.

Terms and organization used within this document (Definitions for Pocket Gardener) and within each of the Pocket Gardener pages were created by Dr. Scott Biggs and Dr. Tim Rhodus; while the actual contents within all of the above-cited documents were authored by Dr. Scott Biggs.

Dr. Biggs would also like to cite the following authors, whose reference material he used to supplement his own observations and experiences in the creation of the Plant Dictionary Notes: