Examples of herbaceous plants

An image of red clover.All plants have unique life cycles and requirements in order to survive. One group of plants is known as perennials. In this lesson we will examine types of perennials and view examples of them.


A perennial plant is a plant that lives for more than two years. Many perennials grow and bloom over spring and summer, then die back during fall and winter and regrow the following year from their roots. This is not the case with all perennials. Some have adapted to survive the fall and winter months without dying back to their roots.

Types of Perennials

A picture of an apple.Most botanists recognize five types of perennials. They include herbaceous, woody, monocarpic, deciduous, and evergreen.

  • Herbaceous perennials are typically grasses that grow in fire-prone areas and on prairies.
  • Woody perennials are found all over the world and include large towering trees that take years to grow completely.
  • Monocarpic perennials are plants that flower and make seeds, then die. They are perennials because it takes them more than one year to complete this process.
  • Deciduous perennials are plants that shed their leaves in the fall of the year.
  • Evergreen perennials are those plants that live long lives and keep their foliage during the fall and winter months.

Examples of Perennials

Red clover is a herbaceous perennial plant that can be found growing all over the prairies. Red clover is a favorite plant of farmers to feed to livestock and is important because it fixes nitrogen in the soil. It takes the red clover more than two years to flower and reproduce, making it a true perennial.

This red clover is an example of a herbaceous perennial. A picture of a goldenrod.

The next time you buy an apple at the supermarket you will know you are buying the fruit of a woody perennial plant. Trees in general that take more than two years to mature and produce fruit are considered woody perennials. An apple tree is a classic example.

This red apple is the fruit of a woody perennial.

An example of a monocarpic perennial is the agave. These take years to grow, but when they finally flower and produce seed they die. It is not the flowering that kills them but the chemical changes that they undergo after producing seed.

This agave plant will flower once then die. Image of an agave plant. An image of begonias.
Wiley-Blackwell Perennial Weeds: Characteristics and Identification of Selected Herbaceous Species
Book (Wiley-Blackwell)

Dichotomous Key

2006-05-14 05:16:20 by robur

Would there be guides for all the plants or broken down by plant types: trees, grasses, woody perennials, herbaceous perennials, etc?
How technical would it be? Would it be user friendly? I like the challenge and looking up things like leaf shapes and technical terminology of plant structure, but I see this could be a stumbling block for many.
Isn't it more fun to ask the CL community, get a name for your mystery plant, and then continue your research.

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