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Genus of the Week

Week of August 31 - September 6

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This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes , a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.

This week's genera:

Aureolaria and Agalinis (formerly known as Gerardia)

Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Asteridae
Order: Scrophulariales
Family: Scrophulariaceae - The Snapdragon or Figwort Family
Number of Species: At least 11
Root: Aureolaria is from the Latin "aureus", meaning golden yellow. According to the Northern Prairie Science Center, Agalinus means "remarkable flax" in Latin. Gerardia was named after the herbalist, John Gerarde, who died in the early 1600's. Some species have been labeled as both Aureolaria or Agalinis, depending on the source.

The recently divided genus Gerardia contained a number of species with the beautiful fused-corolla flowers typical of the Scrophs. The genus Aureolaria is not recommended for creating dried flower arrangements, since individuals normally turn black after being picked and dried. Plants in this genus are also known to be semi-parasitic on oak trees. They do this by means of haustoria, specialized structures borne from their roots that actually penetrate through the vascular bundles of the roots of the host tree. Another Genus of the Week that is semi-parasitic is Comandra (Bastard Toadflax).

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Aureolaria and Agalinis species:


  1. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  2. Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.

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