How to use the Plant Toolbox
Looking for the glossary?
The Extension Gardner Plant Toolbox is designed to help NC consumers find plants that will thrive in their gardens and landscaping needs. The Plant Toolbox is an interactive tool that allows users to search for plants by common or scientific name or by tags. It also allows a list of plants to be filtered by horticultural needs, plant characteristics, landscape use, wildlife value, fire resistance, and more. The Plant Toolbox was created with funding from NC Extension and the Center for Integrated Pest Management. A dedicated team of Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers updates and improves the site and contributes photos.
Help with Searching
- Search by Plant Name
- How to Use Tags
- Find a Plant for Specific Garden Conditions Using Search Filters
- Identify a Plant
- Printing a Plant Profile or Shopping List
- Using the Plant Toolbox on a Mobile Phone
- Adding the Plant Toolbox to your iPhone home screen.
- The Nomenclature of Horticultural Plants: An Explanation
- Scientific & Common Names Verification & Sources
- About Wildlife Information on the Plant Toolbox
- Invasive Species Determination
- USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
- Using Photos from this Site
- Online Resources & Additional Tools
- Other Extension Gardener Resources
Looking for an extensive glossary? See the NC Extension Gardener Handbook Glossary
Go here for a fun, interactive exercise useful in reviewing plant morphology terms.
|A part of a plant that is a modification of a stem, root. or leaf.
|What beneficial insects or birds the plant attracts.
|Available Space To Plant
|Measured in feet, the length of the diameter of a circle, with the plant at its center, that is required for a plant to reach its mature size unobstructed.
|The appearance of bark and how tight or loose it is to the trunks of woody plants.
|The color of the outer bark of a woody plant.
|Bark Plate Shape
|The shape of flat sections of bark separated by furrows.
|The reproductive structure of a conifer; a strobilus. Seed cones are usually woody, with overlapping scales on which the seeds are borne. Pollen cones are typically non-woody, with small overlapping scales bearing pollen sacs.
|The design function of a plant in the landscape.
|Flower Bloom Time
|The season in which flowers are in bloom.
|The primary color (or colors) of the petals, or sometimes other structures like sepals, tepals, or reproductive organs of the flowers.
A grouping or cluster of flowers on a stem in various formations.
|The number of individual petals on a single flower.
The form and anatomy of the individual blooms on a plant.
|How large the individual blossoms are in inches.
|Flower Value To Gardener
|The positive characteristics the flowers of a plant bring to the gardener.
|The color the fruit appears at maturity.
|Fruit Display Harvest Time
|The time of the year when fruits would be showy and/or when they would be ready to harvest.
|The average length of the fruiting body in inches.
|The structure developed from a ripened ovary, or ovaries, of a plant.
|Fruit Value To Gardener
|The positive characteristics the fruits of a plant bring to the gardener.
|The average width of the fruiting body in inches.
|How fast a plant grows. This is a factor of light, nutrients, water, and temperature.
|Shape, form, and appearance of a plant.
A soft, pliable, usually barkless shoot or plant. Distinct from stiff, woody growth.
|A plant that dies back in the winter and regrows from the crown in spring.
|Places in the landscape that might be influenced by different environmental factors.
|Gardens defined by a particular geographical style, certain identifiable plant characteristics, or color palette.
How leaves are positioned on the stems of plants. Alternate, Opposite or Whorled
|What type and how long leaves stay on a plant.
|The color or colors of the blades of the leaves during the growing season.
|Leaf Fall Color
|The color the leaves turn in autumn. Not all plants have a change of color with the seasons.
|How the leaf feels to the touch.
|Leaf Hairs Present
|If there are hairs on any surface of the leaf.
|The average length of the blade of the leaf in inches.
The shape of the edge of the leaf blade.
The varying shapes of individual leaf blades.
The form and number of leaf blades which differ greatly among plants.
A) Simple; B) Palmately compound; C) Pinnately compound; D) Bipinnately compound
|Leaf Value To Gardener
|The positive characteristics leaves of a plant bring to the gardener.
|The average width of the blade of the leaf in inches.
|The amount of sunlight required for optimum plant health.
|The amount of activity required to keep a plant in top condition.
|North Carolina is divided into three regions Mountains, Piedmont, and Coastal, different plants thrive in these different regions.
|There are many different types of plants and some plants can be categorized by more than one type.
|Factors to consider when choosing a plant that may cause issues in the landscape depending on location and use.
|Resistance To Challenges
|Concerns in the landscape and the environment to which a plant is particularly resistant to.
|How well water drains out of soil after a reasonable amount of time.
|A measure of acidity or alkalinity in the soil that is optimum for plant growth.
|The type of soil(s) that provide optimum growing conditions for the plant.
|The color of the stems and twigs of a plant.
|A bifurcating branching pattern where one side branch develops more strongly than the other, where by the stronger branches form the primary shoot and the weaker branches appear laterally. This often gives a zig-zag appearance.
|The perceived surface quality of the plant compared to other surrounding plants.
|A geographically-defined zone which tells which plants are capable of growing defined by the plants' ability to withstand the zone's minimum temperatures.