Flower Identification

Discussion in 'Nature' started by steveh, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. When it comes to flowers, I tend to "shoot first and ask questions later." I'm looking for some web sites that could help with flower ID. Flickr has some good places, but I'd like to find a site that would provide some simplified keys to the ID (color, petal #, compound, etc). Particularly interested in western US, California and Oregon. Anybody have suggestions? Thanks in advance. Steve
  2. I usually use Google Images until I find what I'm looking for. I haven't found any particular website to be as helpful as I'd like on a consistent basis. When that fails, I come here with photographs and asking questions of my fellows.
  3. Thanks. pnflowers looks really handy for its area.
  4. This site can help you to the extent you know something about your subject: http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/. A nice feature is being able to search by location. Even if you have no idea how to narrow down your search (by common name, by plant genus or family), you can at least scroll through a bunch of pictures from a given locale.
  5. Heh. I do the same for Birds. "Shoot First & ID them later..."!
    If you have a SmartPhone, you might try some of the Audubon apps from Green Mountain Digital. I have a few, and they can be very handy to have around in my iPhone!
  6. One thing to remember is that the foliage can be important in identification.You may not want to include it in your main shot(s) but you really need to have it in at least one image, at least for where you have no idea of what family, etc. it is.
  7. I realize that you've asked about ID websites, but have you considered a Peterson's Field Guide for your corner of the world? The wildflower field guide is keyed by flower color and shape, then by other structures such as leaves and stems. These are some of the details that you've specifically mentioned, just in book form. They are relatively small and can go in your bag. The information is concise and easy to read. Best of all you don't need a signal or batteries.
    I agree with Harold. Whatever ID form you choose, the entire plant matters. I hope you find something that will work for you, whatever form it may take.
  8. stemked

    stemked Moderator

    Laura stole my thunder. Petersons, hard to beat.
  9. Actually this particular one is my favorite field guide for plants in the LA area: Oscar Clarke's Flora of the Santa Ana River and Evirons. Very ingenious mix of illustrations and descriptions that allow it to cover a very large part of the local plant diversity, and it's organized by family rather than the color fixation of most other guides.
  10. I'm not local so I cannot contribute a good book, but I'm inclined to lean in the direction Paul De Ley has suggested. I've found more locally-oriented books (even if they are one or two states away, for example TN for AL), tend to have more "hits" when identifying the more esoteric plants. Because the bigger books for whole regions or 1/2 the country have to focus on a wider range, they often leave out related species to more common species, which can make it difficult to identify the less common species when you run into them.
    As an example, here in Tennessee I use several books. I use the "east" books from the big publishers, plus a specific Tennessee book, and a book for Alabama that has a similar climate. Plus, I have books specific to orchids.
    But I rarely bother identifying anything in the field, unless it is an orchid, and since I have most of them memorized, I really only need to book for Spiranthes. I take pictures in a methodical fashion...flower, flower close up, leaves, and plant in-situ...and then identify at home. Saves me from having to carry books.

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