29 January 2021

Quiz: Test your winter plants wisdom

Take our quiz to see if you’re a mastermind on winter plants.

By Katie Avis-Riordan

Cyclamen and snowdrops in Wakehurst's Winter Garden

Winter is much more than just a season of hibernation and dormant plants.

From colourful flowers to evergreen foliage, the natural winter landscape has many beautiful features and surprises. 

Have a go at the following 15 questions to test your winter plants knowledge. See the answers at the bottom of the page to find out if you're a seasonal expert or amateur...

1. Name the plant species in the picture below.

A. Alder (Alnus glutinosa)

B. Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)

C. Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

D. Wild cherry (Prunus avium)

Green leaves and red berries
Green leaves and red berries © RBG Kew

2. Which of the following trees keeps its leaves in winter?

A. Juniper (Juniperus communis)

B. Sessile oak (Quercus petraea)

C. Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

D. Common lime (Tilia x europaea)

Westwood Valley in winter, Wakehurst header, RBG Kew

3. Which winter vegetable tastes sweeter when harvested in cold, frosty weather?

A. Brussels sprouts

B. Carrots

C. Parsnips

D. Kale

Kitchen Garden, RBG Kew

4. Which of the following plants flowers during winter?

A. Witch hazel (Hamamelis)

B. Wisteria (Wisteria)

C. Tulip (Tulipa)

D. Ornamental onion (Allium)

The Mansion Gardens in frost
The Mansion Gardens in frost © Clive Nichols

5. When do snowdrops usually flower?

A. Only in December

B. January to March

C. March to May

D. November to January

Cyclamen and snowdrops in Wakehurst's Winter Garden
Cyclamen and snowdrops in Wakehurst's Winter Garden, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

6. These berries can be found growing on which tree in winter?

A. Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo

B. Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

C. Elder (Sambucus nigra)

D. Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)

Red berries on tree
Red berries on tree, William Milliken © RBG Kew

7. In the wild, alpine plants spend the winter dormant. How do they stay dry and protected from extreme temperatures?

A. By tucking themselves into a tight ball

B. By growing deep underground

C. By forming a colony with other alpines

D. By being buried under a blanket of snow

Spring starflower, Ipheion uniflorum, in the Davies Alpine House at Kew
Spring starflower (Ipheion uniflorum) in the Davies Alpine House at Kew © RBG Kew

8. Conifer trees are typically evergreen. What does the Latin-derived word ‘conifer’ mean?

A. Needle-leaved

B. Cone-bearing

C. Growing in a forest

D. Connected fir leaves

Several conifer trees within the Pinetum of Kew Gardens
The Pinetum in Kew Gardens, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

9. Which of these winter-related plants is a parasite on trees?

A. Cyclamen

B. Heather

C. Mistletoe

D. Holly

Frost on a plant at Kew
Frost on a plant at Kew

10. How is the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) unique?

A. It is the only conifer that sheds its leaves

B. It is the smallest pine tree in the world

C. It is the only pine tree with broad leaves

D. It is the only pine tree native to Britain

Scots pine © RBG Kew
Scots pine © RBG Kew

11. What is the common name of the genus Cornus, pictured below in winter?

A. Dogwood

B. Rhododendron

C. Aloe

D. Dahlia

Cornus alba Sibirica
Cornus alba Sibirica, Chris Clennett © RBG Kew

12. How many years can a holly tree (Ilex aquifolium) live for?

A. 80 years

B. 300 years

C. 700 years

D. 1,000 years

Plants in the Winter Garden at Wakehurst
Winter Garden, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

13. Wakehurst is home to the UK's tallest living Christmas tree. What is its height?

A. 12 metres

B. 20 metres

C. 37 metres

D. 56 metres

Staff member decking the Wakehurst Christmas tree with lights
Decking the Wakehurst Christmas tree, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

14. The winter bark in the picture below belongs to which tree species?

A. Yew (Taxus baccata)

B. Norway spruce (Picea abies)

C. London plane (Platanus x hispanica)

D. Silver birch (Betula pendula)

Bark on trees
Bark on trees © Patrick Hendry/Unsplash

15. What is the scientific name of the common snowdrop?

A. Narcissus pseudonarcissus

B. Galanthus nivalis

C. Coffea arabica

D. Hyacinthoides non-scripta

A cluster of snowdrops
A cluster of snowdrops © Aaron Burden/Unsplash

Answers

1. Name the plant species in the picture below.

C. Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

Discover the hidden mysteries of holly

2. Which of the following trees keeps its leaves in winter?

A. Juniper (Juniperus communis)

Take a virtual gallery tour of winter oak drawings

3. Which winter vegetable tastes sweeter when harvested in cold, frosty weather?

C. Parsnips

Learn more about why parsnips taste better in winter

4. Which of the following plants flowers during winter?

A. Witch hazel (Hamamelis)

See witch hazel and more winter colour in our seasonal photography

5. When do snowdrops usually flower?

B. January to March

Find out more facts about this winter favourite

6. These berries can be found growing on which tree in winter?

B. Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Read up on winter wildlife in your garden

7. In the wild, alpine plants spend the winter dormant. How do they stay dry and protected from extreme temperatures?

D. By being buried under a blanket of snow

Discover more about alpine plants in our Rock Garden film

8. Conifer trees are typically evergreen. What does the Latin-derived word ‘conifer’ mean?

B. Cone-bearing

Visit our Pinetum at Kew and Wakehurst

9. Which of these winter-related plants is a parasite on trees?

C. Mistletoe

Unearth more surprising facts about mistletoe

10. How is the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) unique?

D. It is the only pine tree native to Britain

Take our quiz on trees

11. What is the common name of the genus Cornus, pictured below in winter?

A. Dogwood

Watch our film of the Winter Garden at Wakehurst

12. How many years can a holly tree (Ilex aquifolium) live for?

B. 300 years

Learn about more festive plants

13. Wakehurst is home to the UK's tallest living Christmas tree. What is its height?

C. 37 metres

Swot up on more Christmas tree facts

14. The winter bark in the picture below belongs to which tree species?

D. Silver birch (Betula pendula)

Explore Wakehurst's national birch collection

15. What is the scientific name of the common snowdrop?

B. Galanthus nivalis

Visit our Natural Area to see snowdrops in bloom

Your score

Add up your score out of 15 to see if you're an expert or amateur...

11 or above: Your winter plants wisdom is wonderful!

6 to 10: Great effort, you've got reason for this cold season 

1 to 5: Nice try but there's room for growth

0: Your knowledge is like a deciduous tree in winter: bare

Let us know how you did on our Kew FacebookTwitter or Instagram, or Wakehurst FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Pine tree in winter

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