Friday, March 4, 2011

All in the Family

Hardenbergia violacea flowers

When I saw the Hardengergia violacea blooming today in the Warm Temperate house at Brooklyn Botanic, it didn't immediately call to mind lilacs, (one of its common names is the Lilac Vine) but rather it immediately made me think of Apios americana (groundnut vine). I didn't know what plant I was looking at, but I had a feeling it shared a family with the pea, just as the native Apios americana does. When I realized I was right and indeed this was another plant in the Fabaceae family, I was pretty psyched because it means something is sinking in from looking at all these plants.

Apios americana flowers

These plants that come from different places are related (the Hardenbergia is Australian) and just like you can with some members in human families, you can see a resemblace right away. They are currently classified in the Fabaceae family, which is huge, just like the snow pea vines I grow in my vegetable garden. Of course, you can't assume plants are related just because they remind you of each other, but seeing similarities between species is a good enough start when you're trying to learn about plant families or just trying to ID something.

Snow Pea flower


Marie said...


There are Apios americana at the BBG? Just planted some seeds a few days ago...

Sweetgum Thursday said...

Nice. I hope you enjoy them. Yes, Native Flora Garden at BBG has some Apios americana. By the way, your blog is lovely..beautiful pictures.