Genus of the Week
Week of July 12-18
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.
The Genus of the Week is Back!! I strive ever closer to my goal of describing one genus from
every Order. If you are interested in what I have been doing the past few weeks while this page
was not being updated, check out What I did on my Summer Vacation.
If you like this page, you might also want to visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family. Also, you can see my contribution to the
Conservation New England web site, entitled
"The Introduction of Non-Native Plants into Massachusetts".
This week's genus:
Family: Campanulaceae - The Bellflower Family
Number of Species: Once as many as 6, now as few as 0, depending on classification!
Root: from the Latin "specularius", meaning "pertaining to mirrors", a possible reference to the shiny seeds produced by this genus.
The genus Specularia may be disappearing. Though some identification guides still use
this genus, others show species as having been reclassified into such genera as Triodanis,
Legousia and Heterocodon. I chose this genus to showcase because I recently
identified species during my recent trip to Italy as well as right on the UMass
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Specularia species:
here to see a beautiful close up of the flower of S. perfoliata, also known as "Venus' Looking-Glass", brought to you from Eastern Oklahoma by Charles S. Lewallen.
- The Northern Prairie Research has a photo and description of
Triodanis leptocarpa, formerly classified as Specularia leptocarpa. It is easy to
see the similarities in flower structure between this species and S. perfoliata.
- The Vascular Plant Image Gallery at Texas A&M University has photos of
S. perfoliata and Triodanis texana.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- 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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