Trees and bushes with aromatic leaves, bark and wood. The leaves are mostly alternate, without teeth but sometimes lobed, and are pinnately veined. The small flowers are in branched clusters along the twigs and have 6 sepals/petals. Fruit is a berry or a drupe (fleshy with a stony center containing a single seed, like a plum or cherry).


A lichen is a composite of a fungus and an alga or cyanobacterium living in a symbiotic relationship. The form is determined by the fungus and the alga or cyanobacterium does the photosynthesis. Lichens come in several forms; crust-like, leafy, filamentous, scaly, etc. A lichen is usually four-layered, only one of the middle layers containing both fungal and algal or cyanobacterial cells. Lichens are small and slow-growing and can tolerate extremes of hostile environments, from searingly hot deserts to arctic tundra. Lichens exposed to the cold and radiation of outer space on a space mission were unaffected. Lichens do not have roots nor are they parasites. They can live on bare rocks, tree trunks, sterile sand, soil and other surfaces.


Lilies are bulbed perennials with often very showy, bell-shaped or triangular flowers. The 3 sepals and 3 petals may be very much alike, and there are usually 6 stamens. The parallel-veined leaves are alternate or basal and may be narrow or broad.

Most lilies in our area are woodland herbs that bloom in the spring. Lilies proper, trilliums, hyacinths, tulips, onions, garlic, and asparagus are in the lily family.


Lindens are medium to large size trees with simple, alternate, heart-shaped, fine-toothed leaves. The leaf base is often asymmetrical. The yellow, fragrant flowers are in clusters on a stalk that is partly imbedded in a long, leaf-like bract. There are 5 sepals and 5 petals. Fruits are nutlets in clusters below the leafy bracts. These bracts spin as they fall from the tree, dispersing the seeds much as maple and ash keys (winged seeds) do.


Liverworts, like mosses, are in the Bryophyte phylum and are small and non-vascular plants. The name comes from the Old English for “liver plant”. Because of its supposed resemblance to the lobes of a liver it was used to treat liver disorders by the Doctrine of Signatures. Leafy liverworts have a stem and 2 or 3 rows of variable leaves, while Thallose liverworts have a thin, flat, leathery body. Liverworts generally prefer moist areas.


Lobelia is the only local genus. The bilaterally symmetrical flowers have a corolla with 2 lips, the upper with 2 lobes and the lower with 3. There are 5 stamens and the anthers cluster around the style. The alternate leaves are sometimes toothed and may be lobed. The fruit is a many-seeded capsule or berry.

The lobelias are sometimes classified as a subfamily within the Bluebell family.


The radially symmetrical flowers are usually purple and are in terminal or leaf axil racemes. Most commonly there are 6 sepals and 6 (occasionally 5) petals, but petals may be absent. There are usually twice as many stamens as petals. The opposite leaves are simple and are not toothed.

The yellow "loosestrifes" are really primroses.