I'm Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh growing herbs is a passion I've had for more than 20 years now. The Backyard Patch is my own herb business started in 1995. I specialize in fresh, amazing, organic blended herbs. Those for cooking, tea and bath -- and they are all home-grown and hand-blended. In the last 20 years I have gained a knowledge of herbs and their flavors that I share here.
I always choose something to do in
the winter months that will take me to a deeper level of understanding of the
plants I grow and love. This year it is
an exploration of plant (herb)
anatomy. Over the next few weeks I will
explore the parts of the plants the various descriptions of the parts and the
uses of those parts.
I am going to begin with plant
nature, like perennial vs. annual; then talk about roots, stems, leaves,
flowers and fruit. I will include as many images as I can so when Spring comes
you can go out and investigate your garden in a whole new way!
ANNUAL PLANTSspring from the seed, make their full growthand then die at the end of the growing
season. Many well know herbs are annual,
like dill, cilantro and basil.
A BIENNIAL PLANTdoes not flower the first year, but produces leaves only.
The second year of its growth it flowers, after which it dies. The carrot and
parley are examples of biennials. Many
biennials are grown as annuals in the herb kingdom because the leaves are more
important than the seed it will produce the second year.
A PERENNIAL PLANTlives for more than two years. If the plant retains its
leaves during the winter, it is known as anEVERGREEN; if the
leaves fall upon the approach of cold weather, it is said to beDECIDUOUS. Many herbs like sage, common thyme, tarragon and
mints a,mong others are all perennial.
Lemon Verbena a Deciduous Tender Perennial
TENDER PERENNIAL - this is a perennial plant that cannot withstand most Zone 5 conditions, it will die if winder temps get below 10 to 0 degrees F. These plants can be treated as annuals or brought indoors for winter. Rosemary and Lemon verbena are both tender.
AN HERBis a plant having a soft stem which dies down to the ground
after the plant has reached it full growth.
This is the botanical definition.
The Herb Society definition is any plant beneficial to humankind through
culinary or medicinal means (which includes, shrubs, trees and herbaceous
A SHRUBis a plant which has a woody stem, grows to a height of
twenty-five to thirty feet or less, and branches near the ground. Sage is a
shrub as is winter savory.
Burr Oak - Morton Arboretum
A TREEhas a woody stem, is higher than a shrub and does NOT
branch near the ground.
a form of a branch which curves or falls down to the ground, where they often produce
roots. Mint does this as it can propagate
from root, seed and branch (that is why it tends to be invasive.)
A CLIMBING PLANTis any plant using an external support to raise itself
above the ground. The term “vine” is used for certain climbing plants. Hops
which is also an annual and passion flower are great vining herbs.
A PROSTRATE PLANT – a plant
growing flat on the soil surface with little or no upward growth. There is a genus of Rosemary an, Corsican
Mint and several thyme varieties which all are considered prostrate.
A SUCKERis a branch of subterraneous origin, which, after running
horizontally and emitting roots in its course, at length rises out of the ground and forms an erect stem,
which soon becomes an independent plant. Examples are roses, raspberries,
a prostrate, slender branch sent off from the base of the parent stem.
An OFFSETis a similar but shorter branch, with a tuft of leaves at
the end, as in the house-leek or hen and chicks.
A SPINEis a
short and imperfectly developed branch of a woody plant, as exhibited in the
A TENDRILis commonly a slender leafless branch, capable of coiling
spirally, like grapevines.
GROWTH is the term used to
refer to branches and leaves growing for an undetermined length of time to be
stopped only by other factors such as frost.
Most herbs are described as indeterminate because the growing season end
varies by the time of the first frost in the fall.