Macadamias are medium sized evergreen trees native to the northern parts of Australia. Not all macadamia trees have edible seeds, only macadamia integrifolia and macadamia tetraphylla are cultivated. The others have toxic seeds. The macadamias that people eat are toxic to dogs, and can temporarily paralyze them.
Maidenhair ferns are a popular houseplant. They have very distinctive fronds that don't look at all like 'traditional' fern fronds. The fronds look more like leaves, but they still start tightly curled up like other ferns. Like most ferns they like damp, shady places.
A mandarin is a small citrus fruit related to the orange. The skin on a mandarin is very easy to remove, and the inside of the fruit is very easy to break up into segments. Because of this, they are not very messy to eat and are excellent to take to school in a lunchbox.
Mandrake is a poisonous plant. It has a thick root that is often shaped like a human, hence the name mandrake. There are many legends around the mandrake plant, including the myth that when you pull it up, the plant screams and kills everyone who hears the scream. Mandrake has a hallucinogenic effect and has been used in rituals and magic ceremonies for centuries.
Mangroves are a kind of tree that grow along with other plants as mangals. Mangroves grow in the area where the tide flows through them, so they spend some of their time under water and some of their time dry. Many sea creatures live among the mangroves's roots, and mangroves are particularly important as a safe place for baby sea creatures when they are still very young.
Maples are a group of deciduous trees and shrubs. They are very pretty trees, and are grown in gardens as a decorative tree or shrub, and are also used for bonsai.
One type of maple, the sugar maple, has sweet sap that can be boiled to make maple syrup. It takes about 40 litres of sugar maple sap to make a litre of syrup.
Marigolds are bright orange or yellow flowers, related to the common daisy. They are very hardy plants that can be planted all year around in a sunny or partly shaded area, and take about 6 weeks to flower. Pinch out the first flower as it appears so the marigold will make more flowers.
Mint is a family of small plants with a strong taste and smell. It is used most often to make tea, jellies and sweets or candy. Most chewing gums, toothpastes and breath fresheners are mint flavoured. Fresh mint can be added to drinks, salads or as a garnish on many meals. Mint is often used in sweets, biscuits or cookies along with chocolate. The leaves of the mint are used for their flavour, either fresh or dried. The flavour is carried in oil in the leaves, and the very strongly flavoured oil can be extracted and stored for later use.
Mint is an easy plant to grow. It prefers a lightly shaded spot with good, moist soil but will grow almost anywhere under almost any conditions. It grows a vigorous root system that can spread very fast. Mint is best grown in a pot so it doesn't invade the rest of the garden. You can grow new mint plants by taking a cutting of a mint runner. Just digging down a little at the edge of a clump of mint should loosen up a runner that already has roots, and can be clipped off and used to grow a new plant.
Mistletoe is a name for a group of unrelated plants that all grow the same way - by being partly parasitic on another plant. This means they grow partly inside another plant, using it as a source of nutrition. Mistletoes can also generate some of their own food from the sun like other plants.
Mistletoe is often used as a Christmas decoration. It is a tradition that any male and female who meet under the mistletoe must kiss.