Thanks. Personally, I find Biennial less confusing. I did a little more
looking around and found this at Papa Geno's:
"...Then there is the confusion about the terms "Annual," "Biennial"
(sometimes written as "Bi-Annual"), and "Perennial."....
"Biennials" are usually from temperate regions where, to compensate for short
growing seasons, the plants have evolved to grow one year and bloom (and die)
the second ....
"Perennials" are plants with more lengthy life spans..... Some are
"Short-Lived Perennials" which only live 2-4 years - Hollyhocks and Foxgloves,
for example, which are frequently sold as Biennials, are actually
Unfortunately, these terms have fallen into common use among both gardeners
and nurseries to refer to climate hardiness rather than a plant's natural life
span. Peppers and Impatiens, for example, are sold as "Annuals" but in fact
are Perennial plants; pot one up, put it in a greenhouse, and it'll live for
years. Although they are Perennial, they are not winter hardy north of Zone 9.
Sometimes, where tropical Perennials are concerned, you'll see the phrase
"grown as an Annual in northern climates." This is one of those phrases which
does more to create confusion than to resolve it. It would be a lot less
confusing if local nurseries would simply list plants as either "Winter Hardy"
or "Not Winter Hardy" rather than to create confusion by mis-use of the terms
Annual, Biennial and Perennial. " (end Papa Geno)
This last portion is a pet peeve of mine, too. I insist that our Display
Gardens label a plant for what it is. I don't want tender perennials listed as
A for annual. TP tells us that it will live on with special care. 'A' means
rip it out during fall cleanup. In Z5 Purple Fountain Grass (Z9-11) is
labeled an annual so people will throw it out and buy new next year. I just
pot it up and put it in the garage every winter and have a bigger plant or
more divisions every year without spending more money.
On Wed, 8 Jan 2003 12:14:17 EST ECPep@aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 1/8/03 11:44:52 AM Eastern
> Standard Time,
> email@example.com writes:
> > Can anyone tell me what this term means?
> > bi-annual, as in:
> This term is picked of a Google search as it
> does not appear in older books.
> Biennial was the term for many years. I would
> suspect here that the
> familiarity with the term monocarpic and the
> other two might have evolved
> into bi-annual to clear up the difference to
> the gardener or buyer.
> Monocarpic means the plant germinates and
> grows, any period of time, until it
> blooms and reproduces itself. Then it dies.
> This could be more than two
> years. Sometimes many more.
> Most of the plants classed as biennials do the
> job in two years although not
> always. Some offset and live on. It must be
> difficult for those listing
> plants in catalogs or classifying them in books
> as the growth descriptions
> can differ by individual or by location or by
> environment. This newish term
> may be an attempt to make descriptions clear.
> Claire Peplowski
> NYS z4
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