Activity: Learning about Plant Families

You may have noticed while watching "Guess That Seedling" that some seedlings look similar to others. Often this is because plants belong to families, just like humans. And like humans, the plants within those families sometimes look similar! For example, when watching the video I thought the first seedlings might be chives or onions, but they were actually leeks. Leeks, onions, and chives are all part of the Allium family, along with garlic, scallions, and shallots. What else do these plants have in common? Sometimes plants within the same family have seeds and flowers that look alike, and they might even taste similar.

Cucumber Family (Curcubitacae): Squash, cucumbers, melons, gourds, pumpkins

Onion Family (Allium): Onion, garlic, shallots, leeks, chives, scallions

Mustard Family (Brassica): Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, collards

Carrot Family (Apiaceae): Carrots, parsley, fennel, celery, dill, cilantro, parsnip, Queen Anne's lace

Bean Family (Legume): Peas, beans, peanuts, lentils, clover

Nightshade Family (Solanaceae): Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes

If you have any of these plants growing in your garden or stored in your refrigerator, take some time to think about how they are similar and how they're different. You can also find pictures in a seed catalog or on the internet, compare pictures of members of these plant families side by side. Do broccoli and kale taste a little similar? Do the leaves of a pea plant resemble clover leaves? Do the flowers of members of the Carrot Family look like Queen Anne's Lace? Is it surprising that potatoes and peppers are related?