A Journey into Plant Taxonomy

When it comes to hedging plants and trees, the world of taxonomy unravels a fascinating tapestry of botanical diversity. Each species has its unique characteristics and evolutionary history. In this article, we embark on a captivating journey through the realms of plant taxonomy, exploring the intriguing relationships and distinct features of hedging plants and trees. Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or simply curious about the natural world, this exploration will shed light on the remarkable diversity that graces our hedges and landscapes.

Hedging and Trees - Shutterstock

Contents of This Article

The Language of Classification

Plant taxonomy is the science of naming, describing, and classifying plants based on their evolutionary relationships. Carl Linnaeus, was an influential botanist. He developed a hierarchical system of classification that forms the foundation of modern taxonomy. his system, starts with the broadest category, the kingdom, and progresses to increasingly specific ranks. It includes ranks such as phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. This systematic approach allows us to organize and understand the vast array of plant species, including the numerous hedging plants and trees found around the world.

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Genera and Species: A Closer Look

In the world of hedging plants and trees, the genus is a critical level of classification. Genera represent groups of closely related species that share common characteristics. For example, the genus Buxus includes boxwood species, while Ilex encompasses hollies. Within each genus, numerous species exist, each with its distinct traits and adaptations. These species often exhibit variations in leaf shape, growth habit, flower color, and overall appearance, offering a plethora of options for creating diverse and visually appealing hedges.

Cultivars and Varieties: Unleashing Horticultural Innovation

Horticultural innovation and human intervention have further enriched the world of hedging plants through the creation of cultivars and varieties. Cultivars are cultivated varieties that possess unique characteristics resulting from selective breeding or genetic mutations. They may exhibit distinctive foliage colors, compact growth habits, or improved disease resistance. For instance, the boxwood cultivar ‘Green Velvet’ (Buxus sempervirens ‘Green Velvet’) features lush, dark green leaves and a dense, rounded form, making it a popular choice for hedging. These cultivated varieties offer an abundance of options for tailored and customized hedges to suit different garden styles and preferences.

Buxus Sempervirens

Native vs. Exotic Species: A Conservation Perspective

The choice of hedging plants and trees also raises questions about native and exotic species. Native species naturally occur in a particular region, having evolved and adapted to its climate and ecosystems. Using native hedging plants can provide ecological benefits, supporting local wildlife, and preserving biodiversity. However, carefully selected exotic species can also serve as attractive and functional hedging options. It’s crucial to strike a balance between using native species for conservation purposes and exploring well-behaved exotic species that can thrive without becoming invasive.

The Ever-Changing Landscape of Taxonomy

Plant taxonomy is a dynamic field, continually evolving as new scientific discoveries and advancements reshape our understanding of plant relationships. DNA analysis and molecular techniques have revolutionized taxonomy, leading to the reclassification and realignment of many plant species. As our knowledge deepens, taxonomists revise classifications, unveiling new insights into the relationships between hedging plants and their botanical kin.


Plant taxonomy unveils the hidden connections and remarkable diversity that make hedging plants and trees so captivating. By understanding the language of classification, exploring the significance of genera, species, cultivars, and varieties, and considering the conservation implications of native and exotic species, we can navigate the vast array of options available to create stunning and resilient hedges. So, embrace the wonders of plant taxonomy and embark on a journey of discovery as you craft your own botanical masterpiece in the form of a hedging paradise. Happy exploring!