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Conophytum by Dortort F.

By Dortort F.

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You may be familiar with the tulip poplars (Liriodendron tulipera), dogwoods (Cornus), and eastern white pines (Pinus strobus) that shelter our homes and shade our schoolyards. But simply referring to the common name of a plant is often confusing. One plant can have many different common names. The red maple is common to Pennsylvania and the swamp maple is common in Connecticut. As it turns out, they are the same plant (Acer rubrum), but with at least two colloquial names (and undoubtedly more).

Native American (Cree tribe) prophecy The Relationship Between Native North Americans and Plants The primal, buzzing sound of a snake rattle vibrating under the scrub brush beside your feet is enough to stop anyone in his tracks—just as nature designed it. If you choose to stick around long enough to look for the source of the sound, you may be rewarded with the sight of a large-scaled, thick-bodied reptile. Slowly coiling on a bed of leaves, the snake would raise its head and upper body into a characteristic defensive pose as its dark tongue rhythmically darts, trying to smell the threat it senses from your presence.

Plant classification can be complicated. Plant species can resemble one another quite closely; plants can sometimes interbreed within species or across species, producing hybrids and varieties that sometimes defy classification. The Cinchona tree is distinguished by its bark, which possesses an alkaloid derivative called quinine. An important plant for treating malaria outbreaks, the tree has so many species and hybrids and varieties within each species that it is almost impossible to classify.

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