Plants have a series of identifying characteristics that can help narrow down the plant's likely identity. Important plant properties to consider when identifying a plant include the plant's root type, stem type, growing location and growth patterns. Identifying plants is best done by becoming familiar with them and by understanding traits and information that aid a gardener in discovering the identity of a green plant.
Vegetative types used to classify green plants include herbs, shrubs, trees and vines. An herb is a plant with no hard, wood-like tissue. A shrub is usually under 25 feet tall and has woody stems. A tree grows straight up with one woody stem. A vine is a climbing plant that can be woody, herb-like, or a combination of both.
Knowing a plant's growing location can help you identify the type of green plant you have. If a green plant is thriving in the natural environment outdoors, check plant types that grow in your local area for clues about the type of green plant. Local landscapers or nursery employees often have knowledge about the types of plants native to the local area.
Identifying green plants can help you figure out how to best deal with them. Whether you intend to care for them or get rid of them, knowing the type of green plant can help with planning. When you have pets or children in the home, knowing the plants you keep as green houseplants can be vital to ensure their safety from poisonous indoor greenery.
A plant's leaf structure may tell you something unique about the plant that will help you identify it. Green leaves can grow by themselves, in groups or two or more, or in large bunches, like those seen with pine needles. A leaf can be hairy or smooth, thick and thin, moist or dry.
When green plants look similar in leaf shape, many have different root structures that can help identify them. Root shapes include taproots, tuberous roots, aerial roots, fibrous roots and adventitious roots.
Green plants can also be identified by how long they live. A green plant that loses its leaves in the wintertime is a decidious plant. A plant that lives for a year and reproduces before it dies is an annual plant. A plant that continues to live year-round for many years is a perennial plant.