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PlantFiles: The Largest Plant Identification Reference Guide - Dave's Garden

PlantFiles is the largest plant database in the world, with information and photos for 210,408 different plants! View our 365,627 images and read our 138,977 detailed and helpful comments. Search for a plant by its common or botanical name using the green button below, or scroll down the page and browse through hundreds of popular cultivars, or search for plants by their characteristics (height, hardiness, etc.)

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  The Latin word of the week  
Opuntia
(op-UN-shee-a)

Opuntia is the Greek name for a different plant that grew near the ancient city of Opus in Greece. Opus means "town of figs" and early European botanists called this plant Ficus indica for reasons that are not clear, since it bears no resemblance to the Indian fig that was already well-known at the time.

Linnaeus published the names Cactus opuntia and Cactus ficus-indica in his Species Planatarum. In 1768, Philip Miller combined them into Opuntia ficus-indica in The Gardener's Dictionary.

It is believed this species accompanied Christopher Columbus back to Lisbon from the Caribbean in the 1400s even though it is not native to the area; other records show the plants were growing in Tlaxcala Mexico in the early 1500s.

Most likely the plants are native to central Mexico, but have been naturalized throughout much of the world and are grown as an economically important fruit crop, especially in arid countries like Mexico. It bears large sweet fruit called "tuna" (possibly from the Haitian common name) and the self-explanatory name prickly pear

  The Plant of the Week  
Lenten Rose
Helleborus orientalis

Hellebores are native to Asia and eastern Europe. They were documented in literature over a thousand years before the time of Christ. Fast-forward 3500 years to 2005, when Hellebores were recognized as the Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. The honor was a long time coming, but is well deserved. Modern hybrids bloom in a spectrum of colors, ranging from the traditional white and creamy pale green and yellow, to newer red, violet and blue hues. Best of all, many species of Helleborus boast flowers in mid-winter, even in cold climates.

Their dark leaves are leathery and evergreen, requiring only minimal care in spring to tidy them up when a new flush of leaves appear to replace the fading foliage from the past season. Need more reasons to grow Hellebores? The plant is virtually free from pests, including hungry deer and other wildlife foraging for food. Numerous varieties of Hellebore are available in local garden centers and mail order sources; plants may need a few years to settle in and reward the patient gardener with some much-needed cheer in the dreary winter months.

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Image

Type of plant: Perennials

Bloom color: Pink, Purple, White/Near White

Bloom time of year: Late Winter/Early Spring, Mid Spring

Sun requirements: Partial to Full Shade

Cold hardiness: Zone 4a to Zone 9b

Height: 12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

Spacing: 15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

  Bloom of the Day for December 27, 2014  
Image

Hoya
(Hoya macgillivrayi)

Type of plant: Tropicals and Tender Perennials, Vines and Climbers

Bloom color: Purple, Maroon (Purple-Brown), White/Near White

Bloom time of year: Mid Spring, Late Spring/Early Summer

Sun requirements: Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade

Cold hardiness: Zone 11

Height: 15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Spacing: 3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

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