What Are Perennial Plants? - Examples & Types

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  • 0:01 Definition of Perennial Plants
  • 0:22 Types of Perennial Plants
  • 1:04 Examples of Perennial Plants
  • 2:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

All plants have unique life cycles and requirements in order to survive. One group of plants is known as perennials. In this lesson we will examine types of perennials and view examples of them.

Definition of Perennial Plants

A perennial plant is a plant that lives for more than two years. Many perennials grow and bloom over spring and summer, die back during fall and winter, and grow again the following year from their roots. This is not the case with all perennials. Some have adapted to survive the fall and winter months without dying back to their roots.

Types of Perennial Plants

Most botanists recognize five types of perennials. They include herbaceous, woody, monocarpic, deciduous, and evergreen.

  • Herbaceous perennials are typically grasses that grow in fire-prone areas and on prairies.
  • Woody perennials are found all over the world and include vines, shrubs, and large towering trees that take years to grow completely.
  • Monocarpic perennials are plants that flower and make seeds, then die. They are perennials because it takes them more than one year to complete this process.
  • Deciduous perennials are plants that shed their leaves in the fall of the year.
  • Evergreen perennials are those plants that live long lives and keep their foliage during the fall and winter months.

Examples of Perennial Plants

Let's take a look at some examples. Red clover is an herbaceous perennial plant that can be found growing all over the prairies. Red clover is a favorite plant of farmers to feed to livestock and is important because it fixes nitrogen in the soil. It takes the red clover more than two years to flower and reproduce, making it a true perennial.

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