How to Identify Flowering Shrubs


Use your powers of observation when it comes to identifying different types of flowering shrubs. Employ your ability to focus on the many different aspects of these plants to differentiate one from another. Once you have accumulated enough data on a species of shrub, you can then refer to online websites or employ field guides to find out what it is.

Step 1

Measure the size of the leaves on a flowering shrub. Determine their length and width as well as their shape. Distinguish a shrub such as buttonbush by seeing that it has leaves between 3 and 6 inches long and 2 to 4 inches wide that are oval to elliptical in shape.

Step 2

Observe the arrangement of the leaves on the stem. Shrubs, like trees, have leaves that grow in certain manners on their twigs. Look at the leaves of a flowering shrub called firebush and you will discern that they grow in a whorled pattern about the stem, with as many as seven individual leaves growing at each node. Use this information to help you identify the plant.

Step 3

Examine the flowers of the shrub closely. Measure how far across the flower is, ascertain how many petals it possesses and determine its color. Take the forsythia for example. Notice that it has flowers that are 1 to 2 inches wide, has four separate petals and a yellow color.

Step 4

Study the fruit that results from the flowers to determine a flowering shrub's identification. Take into account the color, size, texture, location and other aspects of the fruit. Blue huckleberry is a flowering shrub that produces berries that closely resemble blueberries but they are crunchy and contain ten large seeds rather than many small seeds like a blueberry does. Make use of such facts as you add to your data about the shrub.

Step 5

Estimate the size of the flowering shrub to identify it. Most shrubs are in the range of 5 to 15 feet in height. Looking at a shrub known as angels' trumpet, you would notice if it falls between the size range indicated for this species, which is between 6 and 15 feet.

Step 6

Search the shrub carefully for any special features. Recognize a species called crown of thorns by the half-inch long black thorns that cover the stems and the branches. The darkness of the green in the leaves of Rose of Sharon gives away its identity.

Things You'll Need

  • Field guides to shrubs
  • Online shrub identification sites


  • Floridata:Shrub List

Who Can Help

  • Back40books: Peterson Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: identifying flowering shrubs, measuring shrub flowers, flowering shrub features

About this Author

John has written thousands of articles for Demand Studios, Associated Content and The Greyhound Review. A Connecticut native, John has written extensively about sports, fishing, and nature.