Plant Forms


Many forms

In wooded area of sheltered lowlands, genus Salix (willows) e.g. Salix alba (white willow) grows tall to compete for light.

In exposed mountains and upland moors, Salix herbacea keeps low to avoid wind.

Life forms

  • Trees:

    • woody plants that support themselves

    • one or few main stems

    • e.g. Cedrus lebani, Sorbus aucuparia (rowan)

  • Shrubs:

    • essentially short trees

    • often multi-stemmed

    • or branch from low down

    • mainstay of horticulture

    • diverse e.g. Mahonia x media, Virburnum davidii

  • Subshrubs:

    • Very small shrubs

    • often creeping plants

    • sometimes woody

    • e.g. rock garden plants

  • Climbers:

    • cannot support themselves

    • climb structures or plants to reach sun

    • if not supported, then sprawl

    • e.g. Hedera spp. (ivies) anchor themselves with adventitious roots

    • e.g. Lathyrus latifolius (everlasting pea) anchor themselves with tendrils

  • Herbs:

    • herbaceous plants (grasses, bulbs, herbaceous dicots)

    • most plants of grasslands

    • most truly aquatic plants

    • found everywhere

    • e.g. Bellis perennis (daisy), Luzula nivea (snow rush)

    • not the same as culinary herb! (e.g. rosemary is woody plant)