Identifying Specimens

Identifying plant specimens requires some help for those who are not trained in this area. You need to be able to use botanical keys, recognize plant features and understand taxonomic terminology.

However, there are some steps you can take to start with.

  • Find books about the plants in the area you have been collecting - these might be at the visitors center in the area, in your library or in bookshops.
  • Try to match your specimen with pictures and descriptions you find.
  • Ask your biology teacher for help.
  • Ask your local gardening group or native plant society for help.
  • Ask the extension services officer for the area.

If you would like to learn more about Botany you can enroll in a course or do some Botany subjects at university. Utah State University runs two such courses - Field Botany and Plant Taxonomy. The Intermountain Herbarium has also begun to make identification keys available. These are, at present, only useful to those with some familiarity with plant structures but the goal is to provide illustrations that will make them more widely useful.

Visit the Utah Native Plant society. Search the web to find your nearest Native Plant Society.