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Genus of the Week

Week of July 19-25

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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.
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:


Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Dilleniidae
Order: Diapensiales
Family: Diapensiaceae
Number of Species: 1
Root: From the Greek "gala", meaning milk, a reference to the color of the flowers.

The order Diapensiales is a small one, consisting of only 7 different genera and 20 species. The genus Galax is represented by a single species, G. rotundifolia (formerly known as G. aphylla). Although this basal-leaved perennial was once considered rare in its native habitats in the Southeastern U.S., it is now frequently planted as an ornamental all over the country, and has had some success as a garden escapee.

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Galax 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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