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resources for plant identification? especially species in a given genus.

 
Benton Lewis
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Is there a website or other reference that just focuses on the differences between different species in a given genus?  Nice photographs and a description of only the unique characteristic(s) would be great.  Plant descriptions can be long with many words I have to look up and usually, I can narrow it down to the genus I just might need help with the species.  I have tried comparing descriptions on plants side by side but that is tedious for me and I might not need to know all the characteristics each species has in common since I'm focusing on the differences.
 
Benton Lewis
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Why isn't there a key phrase in most plant descriptions that says something like " This plant can be distinguished from others in its genus because of "this".  Or "No other plant in this genus has hairy stipules" for example.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 383
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I think you're wanting to ID wild plants? I don't know a good site for that.  Do you have a specific interest.

I sometimes want to ID specific varieties of fruits and nuts.

Try OrangePippin.com for apples and pears. They have much more detailed descriptions than most nurseries.

There are a lot of different forums with experts on a partular plant, like Bananas.org. I  saw a great discussion on ID'ing nut trees. I think it was at Daves Garden.
 
Alder Burns
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If you "do" Facebook, there is a wonderful plant ID group there.  You post a photo with your location and wait for answers.  There are something like 20K members so there's alway s people in there and it's fast and very accurate.  If someone guesses wrong someone else will correct them and you'll have a consensus opinion in a few minutes, unless you are looking at a very obscure plant in a very exotic location.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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This might help - PLANTS Interactive ID Keys
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
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I have several books and websites that I use to identify plants.  By genus, I assume you mean family or group.  But a search for the meaning of genus is rather confusing as to what you are looking for.  Then there is the word species that I see used.

Genus:

Genus

Specis:

Species

Terminology: Genus and Species


This website allows for searching the family name:

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/

This one is also helpful, list plants as edible, medicinal and habitats.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/cmspage.aspx?pageid=305

I can understand your concern with edible plants.

 
Anne Miller
pollinator
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So I have figured it out.

Family>Genus>species

Cactaceae>Opuntia engelmannii var. linheimeri  Texas Pickly Pear

From the wildflower.org:  Texas prickly pear often grows to 5 feet tall. It may be erect or spreading, with a more or less definite trunk. The pads are green to blue-green, round to oval, 4–10 inches long. The tubercles are 1 1/2–2 1/2 inches apart. The 1–6 spines are yellow, which distinguishes this species from O. phaeacantha varieties. One spine is longer than the rest, about 4 1/2 inches. Occasionally a plant is spineless. The flowers, 2–5 inches across, are often crowded on the edge of the pad. They have several greenish-yellow sepals. Petals vary from yellow to yellow-orange to red, often with the whole range of colors on one plant. Flowers have 1 pistil and many yellow stamens. The fruit is a prickly pear, maturing purple, very seedy.

Cactaceae    Opuntia engelmannii var. engelmannii  Prickly Pear 

From the wildflower.org website:
The masses of yellow to orange flowers it produces will bring one to a stop, no matter how often they are encountered. The plant itself is sometimes 8 feet across and almost as tall. The fruits, called tuna, are up to 2 1/2 inches long with a deep maroon color that makes the plant attractive after the flowers are gone.

Is this the kind of description you are looking for?        
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
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Maybe this USDA site could be what you need?
 
Benton Lewis
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Alder Burns wrote:If you "do" Facebook, there is a wonderful plant ID group there.  You post a photo with your location and wait for answers.  There are something like 20K members so there's alway s people in there and it's fast and very accurate.  If someone guesses wrong someone else will correct them and you'll have a consensus opinion in a few minutes, unless you are looking at a very obscure plant in a very exotic location.


I don't have facebook but might make an account just to get on a group like that.  I've found Houzz name that plant, http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/namegal to be a very good plant ID forum with knowledgeable people and fast responses.  I tend to have a lot of plants I would like to post for identification, but I don't want to bog down forums so its nice to have more to spread around haha
 
Benton Lewis
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Ken W Wilson wrote:I think you're wanting to ID wild plants? I don't know a good site for that.  Do you have a specific interest.

I sometimes want to ID specific varieties of fruits and nuts.

Try OrangePippin.com for apples and pears. They have much more detailed descriptions than most nurseries.

There are a lot of different forums with experts on a partular plant, like Bananas.org. I  saw a great discussion on ID'ing nut trees. I think it was at Daves Garden.



wild edibles are my specific interest. 
 
Benton Lewis
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Burra Maluca wrote:This might help - PLANTS Interactive ID Keys


I looked at it briefly, it does not seem really easy to navigate and that is one of the barriers to good information: I might find a good site but not know it because of not knowing how to access the good info.
 
Benton Lewis
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Anne Miller wrote:I have several books and websites that I use to identify plants.  By genus, I assume you mean family or group.  But a search for the meaning of genus is rather confusing as to what you are looking for.  Then there is the word species that I see used.

Genus:

Genus

Specis:

Species

Terminology: Genus and Species


This website allows for searching the family name:

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/

This one is also helpful, list plants as edible, medicinal and habitats.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/cmspage.aspx?pageid=305

I can understand your concern with edible plants.



I don't have any botany training save what I learned on the side with my self directed study.  I spent a while to just trying to figure out the components of a plant's scientific name and I found it difficult too.  Some sites did not call it species but "specific epithet" and then there are variations of species tacked on to the end of some scientific name ( example: cnidoscolus urens var stimulosus).  But yeah I meant the first word in a scientific name when I asked about distinguishing characteristics of plants in the same genus.

I'll check the site you referenced out.  Thanks

 
Benton Lewis
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So I learned what a dichotomous key is and how to use it (I think, time will tell). The best resource I've find in terms of just focusing on species differentiation in a genus is a dichotomous key.  The best I've found for my area (Georgia) would be Weaklys flora and I downloaded may 2015 version here: http://www.herbarium.unc.edu/flora.htm

Specifically, the plants I had in mind when posting this was distinguishing the species of the wild lettuces, tradescantia, rhexia and hollies.  Weaklys Flora really helped.  However, it covers only the nothern part of my state with the cutoff not dipping south enough into Georgia for my location. I realize many of the plants are the same, but there are probably some plants in my area not covered by weakly's.

Does anyone know of a key that would cover the middle and southern parts of Georgia?

 
Benton Lewis
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Also plant scientific names change.  There has to be an online database that will let you look up a given scientific name and tell you all the scientific names that have been used to describe that plant with that scientific name. I've looked but not found a good one.  Anyone know of one?
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
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One of my goals this summer has been to ID all the plants on our property and if they are edible.  I usually use several websites including the two I listed, wildflower.org, pfaf, and google.  I really have to wait for the plant to flower.  I have made a "Word" document listing all the plants I have ID as to how to eat, cook and some recipes.  It is about 12 pages so far.

I had a plant come up where I had not planted any seeds.  I thought it was lemon balm as I had planted that about four feet from where this came up.  It looked similar to mint.  It finally bloomed in August and is in the sage genus.

I had another that I thought was a milkweed, when it bloomed it turn out to be a nightshade.

Another new word: Dichotomous Key

Dichotomous Key to Families

Simple Key  Which group best describes your plant?

All other flowering non-woody plants

This link might be helpful: 

Native Plants of Georgia - UGA
 
Jamie Davis
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Eattheweeds.com is the most practical help for edibles.
 
Jim Moore
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I love Eat the Weeds...
Another good source for wild edibles is http://www.foragingtexas.com/
 
Alex Riddles
Posts: 28
Location: Columbia Missouri
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If you want to identify wild edibles in North America one good reference is:  Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons.
 
Mar Barak
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Facebook 👒🐶
Plant Ident 101
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Welcome to ‘PLANT IDENT 101’!
We are a chatty, friendly, fun group and we are all here to learn from each other.

We are proving to be an excellent resource for landscapers, professional gardeners, amateur gardeners, students, and teachers alike.
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Carol Var
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Location: Dom.Rep.
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PlantNet is a new app that help to identify plants with pictures.

Maybe could help you.

http://identify.plantnet-project.org/
 
Benton Lewis
Posts: 107
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I found this site for listing synonyms of scientific names so if the one you know is old you can find the most recent one:

http://www.catalogueoflife.org/col/search/scientific?324c2f79f1b377add39838e69a83cf6a

 
Ronnie Ugulano
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I'm not sure if this is what you want, but when I need to identify a plant, I go to

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/namegal

They are scary good.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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