Oklahoma Wildflowers
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3 11 but they are well worth knowing. They have 4 or 5 petals, and the fruits are dry, papery capsules. See pages 162–164. Apocynaceae, dogbane or milkweed family The family’s defining characteristics are its milky sap and modified flower parts followed by pods that may be long and slender or plump and pealike, filled with many seeds and long, silky hairs. See pages 165–171. Convolvulaceae, morning glory family With 17 species in 7 genera in Oklahoma, at least 1 of these often pretty plants should be in every neighborhood. Morning glories are mostly vines, more or less twining without tendrils, with the flaring bell shape characteristic of morning glories. They bear seeds in dry, papery capsules. See pages 172–174. Polemoniaceae, phlox family Oklahoma’s 12 species in 3 genera of phloxes are herbs with showy, tubular flowers that flare outward, trumpet-like. The seeds are borne in dry, papery capsules. As they are often dug to plant in flower beds, they may sometimes be found outside their natural habitats, but they are notoriously difficult to sustain. See pages 175–177. Hydrophyllaceae, waterleaf family Oklahoma’s 13 species all have blue or lavender bowlshaped flowers that are 5-lobed and borne in coiling spikes. The fruits are dry, papery capsules with few to several seeds. See page 178. Boraginaceae, borage family Oklahoma’s 24 species of borages are all herbs and are usually hairy or bristly. They bear flowers in uncoiling 3 12 spikes with all the flowers on one side. The fruits are 4 little nutlets. See pages 179–180. Verbenaceae, verbena family There are 23 species in 6 genera of plants in Oklahoma’s verbena family. While they are mintlike in habit (including many with square stems), they differ in these ways: the 4 or 5 petal lobes spread to make a not quite symmetrical flower, and the fruits are often berry-like. See pages 181–183. Lamiaceae, mint family The Oklahoma mints come in 60 species in 24 genera. Most have square stems with opposite or whorled leaves, and for seeds produce 4 little nutlets (small dry seeds) in the dry remains of the flowers. The usual flower is tubular, with 5 lobes arranged in 2 groups. See pages 184–187. Solanaceae, tomato family, nightshade family Oklahoma has 29 species in 7 genera in this family. They vary from edible to poisonous, but all have bell-shaped flowers with 5 points or lobes. The fruits are berries or capsules. See pages 188–189. Plantaginaceae, plantain family There are now 20 genera, including 51 species, of the plantain family in Oklahoma. Most of these were formerly placed in the Scrophulariaceae. The flowers are variable, as are the leaves, but all of them have fruits that are dry, papery capsules containing many small dry seeds. Many of them are among the most attractive of our native wildflowers . See pages 190–191. Orobanchaceae, broomrape family This family includes fully or partially parasitic plants, 3 13 including some of Oklahoma’s most common and beautiful wildflowers. Gardeners have been frustrated for years because Indian paintbrush will not grow in their gardens but thrives in the lawn because it is a root parasite on grass. See pages 192–194. Acanthaceae, acanthus family In this family, look for bell-shaped flowers on plants with opposite leaves (positioned 2 at a node on the stem). The fruits are capsules. Oklahoma has 7 species in 4 genera of acanthus relatives. A family of worldwide distribution, most members are tropical. See page 195. Rubiaceae, coffee family Beginners in flower identification are often surprised to learn that this mostly tropical family has 26 species in Oklahoma . Most are tiny, with small 4-petaled flowers that don’t catch the eye but may catch your socks; they are called cleavers. The fruits are dry, papery capsules or single seeds. All have leaves borne in whorls around the stem, sometimes only 2 to a node, and tubular flowers that flare into 4 lobes. See page 196. Caprifoliaceae, honeysuckle family The 15 species of the honeysuckle family in Oklahoma are mostly shrubs or woody vines, with plain, opposite leaves and tube-shaped flowers that flare into 5 lobes. The fruits are berry-like. See page 197. Cucurbitaceae, gourd family Gourds usually twine or climb and are called vines. The flowers are quite variable but are usually bell-shaped and yellow or white. The leaves are alternate along the stem and usually palmately veined, like maple leaves...


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