Plants and People

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Plants and People
Major Families I
Eight Major Families
Old Name
New Name
Common Name
Compositae
Asteraceae
Sunflower Family
Umbelliferae
Apiaceae
Carrot or Parsley Family
Cruciferae
Brassicaceae
Mustard or Cabbage Family
Labiatae
Lamiaceae
Mint Family
Liliaceae
Lily or Onion Family
Rosaceae
Rose Family
Solanaceae
Nightshade Family
Cucurbitaceae
Gourd Family
Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Defining Features: The family is marked by a head inflorescence (also called a
capitulum) which consists of multiple small flowers termed “florets” on a
common receptacle. The calyx is modified into a pappus. The stamens, when
present, are united by their anthers. The fruit is an achene. The inflorescence is
subtended by bracts called phyllaries, which together make up the involucre.
There are two basic types of florets. Disc flowers are actinomorphic, while ray
and ligulate flowers are zygomorphic.
disc
ray
ligulate
Asteraceae - Head Types
Radiate: disc florets in the center, ray florets along the edge.
ovary
Asteraceae - Head Types
Discoid: only disc florets
style
stamens
5-fused petals
pappus
ovary
disc floret
This particular species has very long styles.
Asteraceae - Head Types
Ligulate: only ligulate florets comprise the entire head.
Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Edible Genera:
Artemisia
tarragon, used as a spice in food, particularly chicken or fish
Cichorium
chicory, roots are roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
endive & radicchio, leaves which are edible as salad.
Lactuca
lettuce, all varieties
Cynara
artichoke
Helianthus
sunflower oil, “seeds”
Jerusalem artichoke
Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Other Notable Genera:
Tanacetum coccineum
pyrethrum or “painted daisy” is a natural insecticide
Eupatorium rugosum
white snakeroot
Helenium
sneezeweed
Senecio
ragwort
poisonous pasture plants!
Apiaceae - Carrot Family
Distinguishing Features: Members of this family form flowers in a dense, flat-topped
cluster called an umbel. The number of sepals, petals and stamens of an individual
flower are each five. The inferior ovary is made up of 2 carpels, with an ovule in each.
After fertilization, the ovary develops into a schizocarp fruit.
Also characteristic of plants in this family are the usually stem-sheathing petioles and the
presence of aromatic oils in the leaves and fruit.
compound umbels
schizocarp
Apiaceae - Carrot Family
Edible Genera:
Anethum graveolens
dill
Apium graveolens
celery (petiole, root)
Carum carvi
caraway, herb and spice with edible leaves a roots.
Can be used medicinally as an antispasmodic
Coriandrum sativum
cilantro
coriander
Cuminum cyminum
cumin
Apiaceae - Carrot Family
Edible Genera:
Daucus carota
carrot, cultivar of the wild variety, grows a tap root during
its first growing season and then produces flowers and seeds
during the next
Foeniculum vulgare
fennel, with edible petioles
Pastinaca sativa
parsnip
Petroselinum crispum
parsley
Pimpinella anisum
anise
Apiaceae - Carrot Family
Other Notable Genera:
Cicuta maculata
water hemlock, the deadliest plant in North America
affecting the central nervous system and causes paralysis of the
lungs. A tiny piece is enough to kill a human, containing large
amounts of cicutoxin
Conium maculatum
hemlock, also extremely deadly and is said to be the plant
that killed Socrates
Heracleum mantegazzianum
giant hogweed, causes painful blisters on contact with
human skin
Brassicaceae - Mustard Family
Distinguishing Features: Leaves are alternate and simple. Flowers usually
present in a raceme inflorescence, with individual flowers having 4 sepals, 4
diagonally opposed petals, and 6 stamens that are tetradynamous--4 long
stamens and 2 outer short stamens. The ovary has two locules divided by a
replum or false partition. The ovary produces specialized fruit, either the narrow
silique or a short silicle in which the seeds are separated into two chambers by the
replum.
silique
raceme
various silicles
Brassicaceae - Mustard Family
Edible Genera:
Brassica
kohlrabi
mustard
canola oil (rape seed oil)
cabbage, head of leaves
kale, without a head
cauliflower, flower buds
brussels sprouts, axillary buds
broccoli, flower buds
rutabaga
turnip
chinese cabbage
bok choy
Brassicaceae - Mustard Family
Edible Genera:
Armoracia rusticana
horseradish, root used to flavor foods
Eruca stiva
arugula
Nasturtium officinale
watercress
Raphanus sativus
radish
daikon
Brassicaceae - Mustard Family
Other Notable Genera:
Isatis tinctoria
dyer’s woad, used for its deep blue color
Alliaria petiolata
garlic mustard is the scourge of the forest
replacing many native wildflowers by shading
them out of existence. One plant can produce
several thousand seeds that are viable for seven
years or more.
Cucurbitaceae - Gourd Family
Distinguishing Features: Leaves are usually palmately veined and/or lobed. Plants
in this family have separate male and female (imperfect) flowers, making them
monoecious. The female flower’s pistil has an inferior ovary usually consisting of 3
carpels with a single locule with parietal placentation. The fruit is a pepo, which is a
berry with a hard rind. A nectary disk is present in both sexes.
male
female
Cucurbitaceae - Gourd Family
Edible Genera:
Citrullus lanatus
watermelon
Cucumis
cantaloupe
honey-dew
cucumber
Cucurbita
pumpkin
squashes
Gourd? Squash? Pumpkin?
Gourd—container, ornament; usually not eaten
Lagenaria, Cucurbita, etc.
Squash—eaten immature or mature as a side dish
summer—immature; usually Cucurbita pepo
winter—mature; C. pepo, C. mixta, C. maxima,
C. moschata
Pumpkin—eaten as dessert; cattle food; decoration C.
pepo, C. mixta, C. maxima, C. moschata
Cucurbitaceae - Gourd Family
Other Notable Genera:
Trichosanthes kirilowii
tree-of-joy, is an important anti-cancer plant containing the drug trichosanthin, a
ribosome inactivating protein, which has recently shown promise as an HIV-1 inhibitor.
Lamiaceae - Mint Family
Distinguishing Characteristics: Mint plants have square stems and opposite leaves.
Flowers have 5 fused petals that diverge into 2 lips, termed bilabiate. The single pistil
has a superior, 4-lobed ovary, and a style that arises from the base and goes up between
the lobes—a gynobasic style. The fruits produced are 4 nutlets.
4-lobed ovary
nutlets
Lamiaceae - Mint Family
Edible Genera:
Ocimum
marjoram
basil
Origanum
oregano
Mentha
mint
Rosmarinus officinalis
rosemary
Salvia officinalis
sage
Thymus
thyme
Liliaceae - Lily or Onion Family
Distinguishing Features: Flowers have 3 sepals and 3 petals that look alike= tepals,
6 stamens, and a single pistil with a superior ovary composed of 3 fused carpels.
Fruit types are septicidal (splitting at the line of the septa) or loculicidal capsules
(dehisces longitudinally through the locules) or berries.
3 sepals, 3 petals
loculicidal capsules
Liliaceae - Lily or Onion Family
Edible Genera:
Allium
onion green, red, white, yellow, pearl
cippolini onion
shallot
garlic
chives
leek
Asparagus officinalis
asparagus
Liliaceae - Lily or Onion Family
Other Notable Genera:
Convallaria majalis
lily-of-the-valley, All parts, including the berries, of the
Lily of the Valley are highly poisonous. About 38 different
cardiac glycosides (cardenolides) have been isolated from this
plant.
Veratrum
false hellebore, contains highly toxic steroidal alkaloids
that can cause rapid cardiac failure and death if ingested. All
parts are poisonous, with the root and rhizomes being the
most poisonous parts. Birth defects in livestock grazing on
Veratrum californicum (native to the western United States)
led to the study of cyclopamine and jervine which are
important in animal developmental biology, including cancer
treatment.
Zigadenus nuttallii
death camas, poison camas, merryhearts, contains a
toxic alkaloid that may be twice as potent as strychnine
Rosaceae - Rose Family
Distinguishing Features: Flower parts are in 5’s and the flower has a cup-like
receptacle or floral tube called a hypanthium. The flower is usually bisexual and has
stamens in whorls of five. Fruit types are achene, drupe, follicle, pome, aggregates,
follicles, and accessory fruits.
Subfamilies of the Rosaceae
Rosoideae—Apocarpous—many separate,
simple pistils on a common receptacle. Fruit an
aggregate or accessory. Strawberry, blackberry,
raspberry, rose
Maloideae—Fused pistils, inferior ovary,
swollen hypanthium. Fruit a pome. Apple, pear,
quince
Prunoideae—One single simple pistil. Fruit a
drupe—Peach, plum, nectarine, cherry, almond
Rosaceae - Rose Family
Edible Genera: Rosoideae:
Fragaria
strawberry, an aggregate of achenes
Rubus, aggregate of drupelets
blackberry
dewberry
raspberry
Edible Genera: Maloideae, pome
Pyrus
pear
Malus
apple
Cydonia
quince
Rosaceae - Rose Family
Edible Genera, Prunoideae, fruit a drupe
Prunus
sweet cherry, marischino, bing, or black
sour cherry
peach
nectarine
plum
apricot
almond, we don’t eat the actual fleshy
fruit, but rather the seed or ovule
Solanaceae - Nightshade Family
Distinguishing Characteristics: The flowers are usually radially symmetrical with 5
united sepals and 5 petals united at base. Stamens are usually 5, sometimes fewer. All
these parts are attached at the base of the ovary. The leaves are alternate, simple or
lobed. The fruit is a berry or 2-chambered capsule.
capsule
berry
Solanaceae - Nightshade Family
Edible Genera:
Capsicum
bell peper
chilies, all kinds
paprika
Physalis
tomatillo
strawberry tomato
Solanum
tomato, roma, cherry, heirloom
eggplant
potato
Solanaceae - Nightshade Family
Other Notable Genera:
Atropa belladonna
deadly nightshade, belladonna, atropine, is one of the most toxic plants found in
the Western hemisphere. All parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids. The berries
pose the greatest danger to children because they look attractive and have a somewhat
sweet taste. The root of the plant is generally the most toxic part, though ingestion of a
single leaf of the plant can be fatal to an adult. Atropa belladonna is also toxic to many
domestic animals, causing narcosis and paralysis. However, cattle and rabbits seem to
eat the plant without suffering harmful effects. Its properties will cause in humans the
disruption of cognitive capacities like memory and learning.
Solanaceae - Nightshade Family
Other Notable Genera:
Datura stramonium
jimson weed, is a narcotic and contains
scopolamine and atropine. Very dangerous
plant and many people have died from
misusing it as a hallucinogen. Can be used
topically as a numbing agent for aching
joints.
Nicotiana
tobacco
nicotine
Today’s Lab
The goal of this laboratory is to familiarize you with eight families of flowering
plants that are important sources of food: Asteraceae, Apiaceae, Brassicaceae,
Cucurbitaceae, Lamiaceae, Liliaceae, Rosaceae, and Solanaceae
We'll take time to survey many of the important food crops and products from
members of these families, examine vegetative and floral morphology, and
survey various products.
Today’s Lab
By the end of today's lab activity you should be able to:
• Recognize and identify the vegetative, floral, and fruit characteristics of each
family, as presented through lecture, discussion, and examination of plant
samples.
• Recognize which of the eight families are monocots and which are dicots
• Recognize by name (common, scientific, and family name) the highly
important food crops on display. Place spices and seasonings by common name
in the correct family.
Many of these you have "met" in the vegetable or fruit labs or both, so you
should already have them in one of the charts. Be sure to write down the
information for anything new (like tobacco) and note characteristics of the
different varieties of each crop you see.
Since past laboratories have focused on food crops in general, some of this lab
will serve as a review and synthesis of information previously presented.
Asteraceae
Apiaceae
Brassicaceae
Lamiaceae
Liliaceae
Rosaceae
Solanaceae
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