Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Identifying Local Plants for Green Roof and Living Wall Use

One of the great benefits of walking through a downtown area is the opportunity to learn the identification of plants I have not seen before.

You would think after working years and years with plants there would not be many species out there I haven't already seen.

Not the case.  Seems like every time I take a stroll through a downtown area there are plants growing from gutters, walls, crevices or cracks int he concrete that I do not recognize the species, sometimes genus and even family.

Legume on stone wall, St. Augustine

Legume on stone wall, St. Augustine
St. Augustine is one of the cities I especially love walking through because there are so many stone walls. There are stone walls around small courtyards, around shops, up and down roads and everywhere you look practically.

Atop these stone walls grow a number of interesting plants, some native, some not.

Especially educational is the attempt to identify these plants thriving without soil or irrigation, making perfect candidates for green roofs and living walls.

One wal to identify these 'mystery' plants is to use Google.  I describe in short terms as best as I can the flower, leaf and choose the closest family and genus I can think of then click on the image bar.  Scrolling down through the Google mages sometimes quickly reveals the right plant.

Other times I have to ask.  There are many plant experts who are glad to lend a helping hand with plant identification.  One who has been especially helpful here in Florida is Lisa Roberts with Florida Wildflower Foundation.

Want to use plants on your green roof project or living wall that you can rely on?  Understanding those plants growing reliably year after year in your Urban Core is a good first step towards knowing what species to use!

1 comment:

Xavier Sower said...

This is an excellent definition of a green roof, literally and figuratively speaking. =) There are actually several species of plants that grow on roofs and walls. They can be attractive if trimmed and taken care of.