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Lecture

-2

Plant Identification : A Practical


Approach

Plant Identification
The methods of Plant identification include Recognition and
Comparison of basic attributes such as:
(1) Defined morphological and/or anatomical characteristics of
the whole plant or individual plant parts e.g.,
Leaf,
Flower,
Fruit,
Seed,
Root and rhizome,
Bark.
(2) Characteristics of the plant like
Color,
Fracture,
Smell and
Taste.

This method is called as Macroscopic method.


There are two more methods which are use, those are :
Microscopic analysis:
Use of higher magnification (than provided by a hand lens) and
special light or staining techniques to examine powdered or
chopped representative sample material.
Chemical analysis: Chromatography:
Techniques that are based on the differential affinities of
substances for a gas or liquid mobile medium and a stationary
adsorbing medium.

Further, Breaking it Down


Identifying plants using Newcombs Method involves looking at the
flower type, the plant/branching type, and the leaf type. This
system uses a series of questions to guide you towards species
identification.
For the flower type:
Is the flowerregular(radially symmetrical - which means
symmetrical in any way it can be divided across the center, like a
sunflower) (most flowers fall into this category); or is the
flowerirregular(only symmetrical when divided one way, such as
a mint or pea flower); or are the flower
partsindistinguishable(too small to see)?
If regular, how many petals or similar parts does it have?
For the plant/branching type:
Is the plant a wildflower, or a woody shrub or vine?
If a wildflower, is itwithout leaves; or if it has leaves, are they all
at the base of the plant (basal); or are they arranged singly on
the stem (alternate); or are theyoppositeone another in pairs
orwhorls(whorled means many leaves coming off in different

For the leaf type:


Are the leavesentire(smooth-edged), or are theytoothed,
orlobed(split into sections), ordivided(separated into leaflets off
the same stem)?
Each answer within these categories is assigned a number, which
when combined will give you a3 digit code. This code will bring you
to a section of thelocator keyinNewcomb's Wildflower Guide, which
will further guide you in your process of plant identification. The
possible answers and associated numbers are as follows:
For the flower type:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Irregular flowers
Flowers with 2 regular parts
Flowers with 3 regular parts
Flowers with 4 regular parts
Flowers with 5 regular parts
Flowers with 6 regular parts
Flowers with 7 or more regular parts
Flowers parts indistinguishable

For the plant/branching type:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Wildflowers
Wildflowers
Wildflowers
Wildflowers
Shrubs
Vines

with
with
with
with

no apparent leaves
basal leaves only
alternate leaves
opposite or whorled leaves

For the leaf type:


1.
2.
3.
4.

No apparent leaves at all


Leaves that are entire (smooth-edged)
Leaves that are toothed or lobed
Leaves that are divided

Thank