Oak Place Court
a gardening website by Connie Miller

Plant, Flower and Tree Identification on OakPlaceCourt.com

I’ll admit, growing up around flowers, plants and trees, I've become pretty good at being able to identify what the flora is. However, there are still tons of species and variations I know nothing about. For instance, did you know that there are approximately over 90 different kinds of oak trees native to the United States alone?! There's more than 600 variations of oak trees world wide. That's crazy! I may have only seen a handful of different kinds in my lifetime on the West Coast!

Not only is it a fun party trick to be able to tell people what kind of plant or flower they are asking about right off the top of your head, but it's also a safety measure to be able to know what plants are poisonous, toxic and what greenery you should stay away from. (The Girl Scout in me is coming out haha!)

Here's a fun story: ...When I was a teenager, my Grandmother found this beautiful flower she had never seen before, growing in her garden. It was incredibly vibrant shades of purple, reds, pinks, maroons... She asked my Grandfather about it, but he had no idea what it was - he had never seen it before. The internet wasn't a big thing back then, so we couldn't just "goolge it" ...long story short, my Grandmother started to develop a terrible rash that the doctors couldn't identify. Come to find out, that gorgeous flower they had never seen before, was a Castor bean plant. Castor beans are highly toxic and the seeds contain the poison ricin! (Anyone ever watch the show Breaking Bad? Then you know how dangerous it is!) Ricin is one of the deadliest natural poisons...and my Grandparents just had this plant growing in their yard! I guess what happened was the seed company they ordered their beans from, must have some how accidentally gotten the bean seeds mixed up. Scary stuff! But can you see how it's important to know just what kind of plant you are dealing with??

I've included some resources below to help you with your identification! As always, ask an expert if you are not sure (Note: I am not an expert haha!)