Learning to identify plants can be a challenge. But plants are more than just a collection of weeds and greenery. Identifying plants will help you spot poisonous or dangerous plants as well as edible plants, herbs and medicine. You can learn to identify plants through a number of plant identification activities.
A nature walk can be instructive as well as informative if you take along a plant identification guide book. If you visit a state park, stop at the information center for identification guide books. Park information centers often sell books that identify plants growing in their boundaries. Others maintain free pamphlets that point out unusual plants and foliage, identifying plants by leaf structure or flower color. Take the identification guides with you on a stroll in your backyard or down a country road.
Plant Collection Guide
Plants are often easily identified by their bark, leaves or flowers. A leaf collection guide is part scrapbook, part informative text. To make one, collect leaves from specimen trees such as maple, birch, sycamore or oak. Also collect leaves from unusual specimens such as Japanese maple or hosta. Press these leaves between sheets of paper and heavy weights. Once the leaves have been dried and pressed, attach them to the sheets of a notebook. Identify the plant based on the shapes and color of the leaves. Then look up as much information on the plant as you can find. Print the information into the margins around the leaf in the notebook.
Native vs. Non-Native Plants
You can learn quite a bit about plants as you study a plot of land. Assessing a plot of land is a task that is frequently undertaken by conservationists as well as developers and architects. Begin by drawing a map of a small plot of land, both as a side view and a bird's-eye view. Identify each plant you find on the map. Then research the history of the plant species to determine if it is native to your region or an introduced species.