Plant Terms You May Not Know

Meredith Gaines — Nov 01, 2022

The world of plants can be overwhelming, which is why Plant Expert Meredith is here to break down some common plant terms. From deciduous to dormancy and everything in between, watch along so you and your plants can keep growing with success!

Plant Terms Defined

  • Invasive: a plant that has displaced natural flora form its environment
  • Native: a plant that is so naturalized to an area where it is part of the ecosystem--learn more here.
  • Volunteer: a plant that has naturally seeded itself in a new area
  • Weed: a plant that is unwanted where it is currently growing
  • GMO: short for genetically modified organism, this is when a plant’s genome is altered for a more desirable trait
  • Organic: plants that are grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or synthetic materials, outlined by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)--shop organic fruits.
  • Cultivar: a shortened word for cultivated variety where a new variety of a plant is produced by hand-selected breeding
  • Variety: a botanical name classification following the species name that denotes plants that are related with unique differences
  • Dormancy: a state in which a plant is not actively growing, like hibernation--see our dormancy guide to learn more.
  • Deciduous: a plant that will enter dormancy and drop leaves in autumn--this includes maples, oakspoplars and others.
  • Evergreen: a plant that will keep its leaves or needles for more than a year--this includes spruces, pines, thujas, boxwoods and more.
Meredith Gaines

Meredith's love for plants started at a young age, and only grew when she started working in the Desert Exhibit at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens and the Historic Filoli Estate in the Bay Area. After graduating from Clemson University (GO TIGERS!) with a degree in Biology and Horticulture, she found her niche in the FastGrowingTrees.com family as a horticulturist and has grown in her current role as Senior Plant Expert.

She currently resides in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, and enjoys spending any time she can outdoors. She learns new things about plants every day and loves sharing her plant knowledge and tips with those around her. Her favorite plant is constantly changing, but her long-time favorites are peonies, oak trees, and ferns.

Questions? Contact Meredith at information@fastgrowingtrees.com.

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