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Plant identification

  • Plant identification
  • Plant identification

Do you struggle to identify plants? You are not alone, we all do. Here's how you can be an effective plant identifier using our Plant Finder.

Before the internet, when the only way to identify plants was through books, people had to rely mostly on written descriptions and the occasional photo (often black and white) or illustration. How difficult that must have been!

Now we have colour digital photos - there are 19,000 in our Plant Finder - recognition is much easier. And plants, like human faces, can be relatively easily matched. You know when it's right, without having to know your botanical terms like 'broadly oblanceolate', 'coarsely toothed' or 'axillary clustered'.

For this reason, the Plant Finder groups plants by genus on a single search-result page with photos and names for you to quickly scan through.

So, if you have have an idea of the genus to which the plant belongs (e.g. Acer, Hosta or Rosa) then enter/select that genus name only on the main Plant Finder page.

For example, if you had selected Hosta, you would then be able to quickly scan through 136 Hosta results on one page.

Having found the plant that most closely matches yours, then check the other photos (where there are some) on the plant record page.

If you want to be even more sure of your identification, there's another double check you can do. Head over to Google, enter the botanical name and select 'images' to see what the majority of users online list as being that plant. There will be some listing errors, but the majority should match your plant.

But what if the genus name eludes you? Or you cannot find your plant in the results given for the genus you selected? You can simply ask other GreenPlantSwap members by placing a post here in Talk Gardening.

Just remember to add some good photos of the plant, ideally showing some close-ups of the leaves and blooms and a 'further back' shot showing the shape of the plant.

Almost all the plant identification requests on this page have been quickly resolved.

Final tip: Once you have identified your plant, click on 'In my garden' on the plant record header to keep a permanent listing of the plant on your Grower page for future reference.

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