How to Identify an Indoor House Plant With Nine Leaves


With more than 1,000 varieties of houseplants, identifying one may seem like a daunting task. However, the process of identification becomes much easier when you know what to look for. Once you have a list of attributes, you can identify the plant through a horticultural encyclopedia. Knowing the plant has nine leaves should help your detective work.

Step 1

Analyze the leaf pattern. With nine leaves, the plant has a pattern that is "alternating"--when leaves comes out on one side of the stem and then the other side, slightly higher than the last one. The other type of leaf pattern is "opposite." Opposite leaf patterns occur when the leaves seem to come out in pairs across from each other on the stem.

Step 2

Look at the leaf structure. Some important characteristics are the degree of gloss, the overall size and the shape around the edges of the leaves.

Step 3

Determine if the plant has a flower. Many houseplants have a magnificently showy flower, which is important for identification purposes. If you see a flower, take note of the color, size, scent and any other attribute that seems important to you. If you do not see a flower, record what time of the year it is so you can check the flowering times of possible matches.

Step 4

Take note of any other characteristics, including stem color and the existence of thorns.

Step 5

Start your identification search. If you are using a horticultural encyclopedia, start with the index to find possible matches. If you are using an online identification service, follow the steps to making an identification.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use caution when handling houseplants, especially if you are unfamiliar with them. Some can cause skin irritation, while others are fragile and can break if handled roughly.

Things You'll Need

  • Horticultural encyclopedia of houseplants
  • Online plant identification websites


  • How to Identify Common Houseplants
  • Indoor Flowering and Foliage House Plants

Who Can Help

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Service: Plants Database
  • The Encyclopedia of House Plants: Plant Identification Guide
Keywords: houseplant identification, plant features, nine leaves

About this Author

Writing out of Hamden, Conn., Kyle Lanning is a full-time student who has been writing at the collegiate level for the past five years and has been published extensively on eHow. Lanning currently holds a B.S. in business management from Clarkson University and is pursuing a J.D. at Quinnipiac University School of Law.

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