BSCI 124 - SECTION 2001

Department of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics

Plant Project - Extra Credit

A plant will be given to each student to take care of as an extra credit project.

Keeping Track of Things:
        1. Keep a journal that records the growth, flowering, and (hopefully not) the death of your plant.
        2. The longer you keep your plant alive this semester, the better your journal project will turn out.  If you hand in a journal that simply states ‘plant died’, then you probably will not get 10 points for the
        3. Be creative!  Some suggestions for your journal notebook:
                a. use a permanently bound notebook as your journal
                b. use loose-leaf paper gathered by a plastic report cover
                c. use the creative ‘scrap booking’ style and make your own notebook!
                d. your imagination is the limit!
        4. Use pencil, pen, color pencils, color prints, color photographs of your plant etc... have fun!

Accurate Observations:
        1. Keen observation is the key to successful science explorations. Twice a week, observe your plant and make notes on plant characteristics such as differences in height (how tall is your plant at
            day 8…day 10 etc.), leaf shape (what different leaf shapes occur), leaf color, and number of flowers (if any).
        2. To organize your data, you can set up a small spreadsheet table recording some of the potential changes in these plant characteristics.
        3. Make notes on potential problems you encounter (yellowing leaves, wilting, insect attack…. etc) and solutions you tried to reverse these life threatening problems.
        4. Did any of the solutions tried actually reverse the problem? Even if there are no apparent problems, is there some change that may make the plant grow better?  Try it.
        5. Be sure to incorporate pictures, drawings or graphs to clarify observations described in the text of your journal.

Communicating your observations:
        1. Written explanation is essential.  Make sure you write your observations or findings in your journal along with any pictures or tables that you might have.

Extra Credit Grade Points:
        1. 5 points of extra credit will be available on each exam from questions pertaining to your plant.
        2. Another 10 points of extra credit will be based upon the quality and accuracy of your final plant journal project.
        3. All completed journals are due in class on the last day of classes (May 11th).
        4. See syllabus for course grade details.

Additional helpful information:
    Care of house plants
         General plant care guide
         Plant Diseases- has chart of susceptibility for specific plants
         Growing conditions for houseplants- listed in chart by name
         Brown tips on leaves-Univ. of Arizona brochure
         Plant Propagation links- share your plant with others!
         Avoid worrying about watering- make a terrarrium for your plant
        Toxicity of houseplants- CRC book
        Plants that are toxic for pets- watch out for Pothos & Euphorbia

    What's in a name?
Botanical dictionary- look up the Latin names of the plant- why were they chosen? Hint- if a whole word does not produce a hit, use parts of the word - the parts are often linked together to describe the plant. The first word in the latin name is the genus- so the description would apply to the group of plants to which this plant is very closely related.  The species name is the second name, so this word would be chosen to describe this plant in particular ( Some examples , more here where you don't have to search). Some species are named after the person who officially discovered the plant (e.g. Tolmiea, see below).
  Description of naming and latin endings

click on picture for a larger image

Aloe barbadensis (older name: Aloe vera)
Confusion in determining the name of the historical first-aid plant
Aloe vera pages-Growing guide- Wikipedia-   cultivation, medicinal uses
Use internally- Quakwatch
Medical uses and misuses- Mayo Clinic

Threats to Aloe habitat

Cautions- Do not eat- poisonous plant info
Other species it might be- 350 species of Aloes (we have not seen the flowers to make a definitive identification of species- but most have the same properties as Aloe vera and are sold as such)
                    Aloe barbadensis- yellow flowers
                   Aloe Saponararia- (also here) sap is irritating and can create suds (i.e. soap bubblees) in water- has red flowers
                                                 (sap of these plants do not create suds, so unlikely is this species)
                   Aloe microstigma- flowers start as red buds but turn orange as they open

 Begonia species-Cane Begonia    

    Cane Begonia description-The American Begonia Society
    Wikipedia- Begonia
    Begonia care-National Begonia Society, look under the different types in the links
    Begonia problem forum- garden web

Bryophyllum daigremontianum - Good Luck Plant, Mother of Thousands 
Description of Genus
Description of species- notice how it was earlier classified as Kalanchoe daigremontiana
Wikipedia entry
Related species
Australian site- control of it as a weed and poisonous plant- pdf file
Close up of plantlets on leaf -
What to do with all those plantlets that fall off?Experiment to test toxicity of compounds

Chlorophytum comosum-Spider Plant 
Q/A on spider plants
Spider plant care
Production guide
Description and problems solving tips
Cleans air- wiki has references
 Crassula ovata (older name: Crassula argentea)-Jade Plant 
Wikipedia- Jade plant
Problem with rotting
Cactus and succulent care  also care of insect pests
Talk about its CAM photosynthesis
Make a bonsai
Cactus and succulent care

    Sites about Crassula in general
      Growing Crassulas
      Description of Crassula cultivation
      Cactus and succulent care also care of insect pests


Cryptanthus bromelioides (red) bromeliad- earthstar 
Cryptanthus picture gallery- different species     more species here
Care- Bromeliad Society of Houston

Euphorbia tirucalli -pencil plant 
Euphorbia genus- Wikipedia
Make more plants from cuttings-good for all succulents
Cactus and succulent care
Ecology, Chemistry, Folk uses etc
Cactus and succulent care  also care of insect pests
 Watch out for irritation from the sap!- toxicity
            North Carolina poisonous plant info
          How dangerous is the sap?-labels E. tirucalli as one of the more dangerous
         Use of the sap for anticancer treatment
   Description of sap and treatment-applies to all Euphorbias
   Gardenweb discussions about the sap of Euphorbias

Kalanchoe tomentosa- Panda Plant 
Description and picture
Care suggestions
Cactus and succulent care
  also care of insect pests

Ludisia discolor - Jewel Orchid 
 A true orchid. High humidity helps this plant thrive. You can place it on a tray of pebbles and keep water in the tray under the top of the pebbles. Also, placing it in a terrarrium would help.
    Species and variants
   Wikipedia entry
    Jewel orchids in the wild
    Care and picture

Mammiallaria elongata
Care of cactus in the home
Growing cacti
Mammalaria elongata-description
What are Mammallaria?
Mammilaria species pictures and origin of name
Wikipedia-What Linnaeus was thinking in the genus name
A brief history of Mammallaria- Cactus & Succulent Society of America
Growing tips from Mammallaria growers
Different forms (mutants, variants) of M. elongata- crested- multiple meristems form "brain cactus"
Significance of the spiral of areoles-Fibonacci series
What are areoles?
Cactus growing tips
Cactus society- Maryland Chapter
Cactus and succulent care  also care of insect pests

Matucana polzii
Wikipedia- Matucana genus, named for Matucana Peru
Cactus and succulent care
Other Matucana species also here
Info on Matucana polzii
Pups- the small cacti growing on the side-you can share your cactus
see cactus sites above for Mammallaria

Nephrolepis cordifolia -Boston fern, fishbone fern
A species related to the typical Boston fern (N. exalta) but more resistant to dry air and soil
Description and picture of tubers -pdf
Questions and answers on Emily's compost
Production guide
Raising ferns from spores


Opuntia microdasys- Bunny ears cactus 
Care of cactus in the home
Cactus and succulent care
Hungry- eating pads of Opuntia but check the species
Cactus society- Maryland Chapter
Cactus and succulent care  also care of insect pests

Pelagonium species - scented geraniums 
(Left two plants-Pelagonium graveolens, rose-scented; center-Pelagonium fragrans, nutmeg-scented; right-Pelagonium tomentosum, mint-scented)
Geranium is a misnomer since it refers to a different Genus

    Culture tips and recipies
    Description-Sally's Place
   Description of different "flavors"
    Scented geranium care
    Page with "medical uses" and

Pellionia pulchra (satin pellionia, watermelon plant
Description and care
Basic care
Description and care
Encyclopedia of house plants

Peperomia glabella , Peperomia scandens, Peperomia obtusifolia 
Description of genus and care
Wikipedia entry
Production guide
Peperomia page- many species
Thick leaves- see this cross section of leaf
Peperomia obtisifolia pages: Plant of the week, Floidata,  poisonous plant page

Philodendron scandens- Heart-leaf Philodendron (right in picture) 
Care and problems description
Short history of cultivation
Air-cleaning abilities
Growing tips
Care and description of different species
Caution- sap is an irritant- Univ. of Maryland Medicine page
LookSmart- Philodendron links
Belongs to the aroid family-description of this family

Sansevieria trifasciata -Snake Plant, Mother-in-law's tounge

Description and care
Wikipedia entry
Propagation from leaf cuttings
Plant of the week
Sansevieria society- cultivation
Other species- slideshow with descriptions

Scindapsus aureus-Pothos 
Care guide
Plant of the week
Production guide
Varieties with different colors
Poisonous plant- pet notes- sap can irritate skin or eyes, leaves poisonous to eat

Sedum morganianum 

Sedum Society Page- Resource links at bottom of page
Use in landscaping- xeroscaping
Cactus and succulent care  also care of insect pests

Stapelia - species not determined - Carrion flower,starfish flower 

Picture gallery of stapeliads- includes genera (pl of genus) that are related
      If yours flowers, take a picture and help us identify the species!
Another picture gallery
Growing tips
Growing tips also
Description- vendor selling species


Last revised:January 2008