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Length of Plant Life
The processes of flowering and/or bearing fruit are exhausting to plants. When such a process occurs within the first year or two of the plant’s life, it usually is too big of a burden and the plant dies off as a result. If the plant survives it will immediately enter into a state of rest. In some cases, if a plant’s buds are clipped to prevent the plant from flowering, the plant may become strong enough to survive the first couple of years and go on to become a perennial.

Annuals

  Any plant whose entire life is limited to one season. It germinates from the seed in Spring, attains its growth, blossoms, bears fruit, and dies in Autumn.

 
Biennuals
  Any plant which germinates and vegetates, bearing only leaves during the first season, and goes on to blossom the following season, bear fruit, and die off at the end of the second season.
 
Perennials
  Any plant which has an undetermined duration of life, usually lasting for many years. These plants can be either herbaceous or woody in nature. Herbaceous perennials or perennial herbs are plants whose parts are annual above ground and perennial below the ground surface. Perennial herbs have (often hardy) root systems that live continuously which send up shoots in the Spring, blossom, seed, and finally perish in the Fall. One of the most famous examples of a perennial herb would be the Dandelion.

Woody perennials usually vegetate for several years bearing only leaves during this time. Once mature they begin an annual cycle of flowering and bearing fruit during the warmer part of the year and then resting during the winter months. Plants in this catagory are commonly known as trees and shrubs.

 
Vines
  A vine is either herbaceous or woody. It is basically a stem that is too weak to stand errect on its own. As a result, it trails along the ground and up any nearby support structure. Vines have "tendrils" which are special thread-like plant organs that grow out in a straight direction until touching some object. A tendril will then immediately coil itself around the object and gain a firm hold.

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