Plants Identification Online Resources

Web sites and other resources with information related to or aiding in the identification of plants.

  1. wcutler
    Welcome to the Resources area for Plants Identification. Feel free to check out the links, and add your comments or submit your own link suggestions by clicking the button on the right and discussing them on the Plants: Identification forum.

    Online Resources
    (For written resources, see Plants Identification Written Resources)

    Acta Plantarum
    Recommended as an important website for flora of the Italian regions. There are floral galleries of 6000 images by family or species, a key for some species, index cards by region, and some very detailed. Notes on Plant Morphology, nine buttons at the bottom centre on the home page, lead to very detailed pages on morphology of plants with good drawings and illustrative photos. Site is in Italian, but there are various ways to get it translated. Here is Microsoft's translated page.

    Link location Acta Plantarum - Home Page
    Submitted by duffy
    Submitted date 3 August 2017; last confirmed 2 March 2018

    Site of forum member SusanDunlap which enables gardeners to browse through our library of 20,000+ images using either visual or verbal cues. The non hierarchical key allows you to select from over 200 attributes – including water, height, flower color, and site location – to narrow the search results to plants you wish to consider for your gardening needs.

    Link location Aerulean - Plant Search
    Submitted by SusanDunlap
    Submitted date 9 Jul 2014; last confirmed 15 May 2017

    African Plants - A Photo Guide
    Nice non-hierarchical search for African plants, result page shows photos. You can browse through a taxonomic hierarchy and / or search according to selected characters you observe on your plant. This was begun in 2008 as a result of field work on West African plant diversity performed within the project BIOTA-West Africa, and later SUN and UNDESERT and is continuously updated since.

    Link location African Plants - A Photo Guide - Browse & Search
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 14 Jul 2017; last confirmed 14 Jul 2017

    Blake C. Willson's Flickr albums
    Blake Willson has hundreds of excellent photos of a lot of trees, and the collection is growing. They are split into albums by species name, and there are several photos for each species showing different aspects of the tree.

    Link location Blake C. Willson’s albums | Flickr
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 03 Apr 2017; last confirmed 03 Apr 2017

    British Bryological Society Field Guide
    Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland: a field guide with a page each of detailed description and drawings of around 700 species of mosses and 300 species of liverworts. There are drawing galleries to get you started, and a very nice detailed key with drawings.

    Link location BBS > BBS Field Guide species accounts
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 31 Aug 2018; last confirmed 31 Aug 2018

    Cretan Flora
    This illustrated guide to the 93 flower families that can be found on Crete are represented here by 186 unique flower shapes. To assist with the identification of individual flowers species, there is a "Genera Colour Guide". There is a link to a related Facebook page that has excellent photos of named plants.

    Link location Cretan Flora
    Submitted by
    Submitted date 17 Jan 2019; last confirmed 2 Feb 2019

    Discover Life Wildflower Key
    This link is for a non-hierarchical key to US wildflowers, but the Discover Life offers much more - various keys to plants by type or location, as well as photos of other life forms.

    Link location Wildflowers -- identification guide -- Discover Life
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 29 Jul 2019; last confirmed 29 Jul 2019

    The largest database on the web related to Indian flora, comprising details of more than 12,000 species of seed plants, ferns, fungi & others, organized by family, with several photos for each species.

    Link location efloraofindia
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 23 May 2017; last confirmed 23 May 2017
    Primarily keys to genus by family on several sites. Current sites are
    Flora of Chile
    Flora of China
    Flora of Missouri
    Flora of North America
    Moss Flora of China
    Trees and shrubs of the Andes of Ecuador (in Spanish)

    Link location Home
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 23 May 2017; last confirmed 23 May 2017

    Facebook Plants Identification Group
    There is a good crowd-sourcing group on Facebook, with 92+ thousand members, many from Europe, some from Italy.

    Link location Plant Identification
    Submitted by Andrey Zharkikh
    Submitted date 21 Apr 2017; last confirmed 21 Apr 2017

    These webpages were referenced in an ID posting:
    Native ferns in Stanley Park:
    Fern Identification 101 — The Stanley Park Project - Open Learning in the Urban Forest

    Native New England ferns (nice display of photos on one page):
    Ferns: Simple Key: Go Botany

    Ferns in Ohio (wonderful photos and explanations of distinguishing characteristics)
    Basic Fern Identification | TrekOhio

    US Forest Service pages on Fern Structure
    Fern Structure, includes a page on resources: More Information

    The Hardy Fern Foundation has a page on Genus Characteristics, a few sentences about each:
    Genus Characteristics

    Here is another, not mentioned on a forum posting, a flickr page; flickr user Mingiweng, has an album of Ferns in Taiwan with around 5500 photos, lots of detailed photos for each species.
    Ferns in Taiwan (台灣的蕨類)

    Link locations: as given above
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 19 May 2020; last confirmed 19 May 2020

    Flora Analytica d'Italia
    Flora Analytica d'Italia, describing vascular plants indigenous, wild and cultivated in Italy. By Adriano Fiori and Giulio Paoletti

    Link locations to four volumes published in 1896-1908:
    Biblioteca Digital del Real Jardín Botánico
    Biblioteca Digital del Real Jardín Botánico
    Biblioteca Digital del Real Jardín Botánico
    Biblioteca Digital del Real Jardín Botánico
    Submitted by Andrey Zharkikh
    Submitted date 21 Apr 2017; last confirmed 11 May, 2017

    Flora Croatica Database
    Website about the flora of Croatia, contains more than 4500 species, 112762 photos. Site is run by the Department of Botany at the University of Zagreb.

    Link location Flora Croatica Database / Hrvatska flora / Flora of Croatia
    Submitted by Lila Pereszke
    Submitted date August 31, 2017; last confirmed 2 Sept, 2017

    Flora d'Italia
    La Flora d'Italia, by S. Pignatti, 1982. This 3 volume work is considered to be the only true and reliable BIBLE of Italian botanist. A must for all Italian Botanical gardens. It is extremely technical. Volume 2 is available for download as an ebook. Actually, all three volumes seem to be available. And there is a document describing an elusive desktop app: et al, bioidentify.pdf

    Link location La Flora d'Italia - Vol2 (Pignatti S. - 1982 - Edagricoltore)
    Submitted by duffy
    Submitted date April 21, 2017; last confirmed 13 May, 2017

    Flora Italiana (online book)
    Book by Parlatori and Caruel, Published by Firenze,Tip. Le Monnier,1848-1896, made available online by the Heritage Biodiversity Library. Google translates the book's description: Italian flora; namely, description of plants that grow spontaneously or grow as such in Italy and in the Islands to it aggiacenti; arranged according to the natural method.

    Link location 1 - Flora italiana; - Biodiversity Heritage Library
    Submitted by Andrey Zharkikh
    Submitted date 21 Apr 2017; last confirmed 11 May, 2017

    Flora Italiana (website)
    Website of over 8000 species of Italian flora with search by botanical or common name, browse by family or genus, or browse by family map location! Search results show a map and photos. The browse by family is hard to find - do a search and find it on the results page sidebar. This is an ad-supported page; it's not clear who runs it. Google offers to translate.

    Link location Flora Italiana
    Submitted by Silver surfer
    Submitted date 31 Jul 2017; last confirmed 31 Jul 2017

    Flora of Germany
    Website about german plants (native and ornamental plants too), contains more than 4000 species with pictures and ID keys (hierarchical view: Systematik; alphabetical view seems to be Artenverzeichnis)

    Link location Homepage
    Submitted by Lila Pereszke
    Submitted date August 31, 2017; last confirmed 2 Sept, 2017

    Flora-on - Flora de Portugal
    Easy to use even with no knowledge of Portuguese. It offers a screenful at a time of good-sized clear photos, organized by family, with some interactive key capability, but very biased toward flower characteristics.

    Link location Flora-On | Flora de Portugal interactiva
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 8 Sep 2015; last confirmed 11 May 2015

    Flora Virtual de El Verde
    Developed by the University of Puerto Rico, The Virtual Flora of the El Verde Biological Station contains information on more than 600 species of vascular plants that have been registered for the area. For almost all species, photos in the field and images of herbarium specimens are included, but only tree and shrub species (more than 200) contain complete descriptions and are included in the interactive keys. You can browse by family or by species, can filter flowers by colour, can browse fruit or bark photos, also photo of ferns. The website is in Spanish, but since almost everything is a botanical name, that should not be a problem.

    Link location Flora Virtual de la Estación Biológica El Verde
    Submitted by Silver surfer
    Submitted date 15 Feb 2018; last confirmed 2 March 2018

    Glossary of Botanical Terms
    This Wikipedia page is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to botany and plants in general. Most of the terms have their own Wikipedia pages, but the list is useful for looking up and comparing large numbers of terms together. Also, there are photos and drawings for a lot of the terms, so it may be possible to find a term that you don't know how to look up by name. Or try the Glossary of Leaf Morphology below.

    Link location Glossary of botanical terms - Wikipedia
    Submitted by Douglas Justice
    Submitted date 9 Sep 2020; last confirmed 9 Sep 2020

    Glossary of Leaf Morphology
    This is a Wikipedia page with a list of terms and their definitions to describe the physical form and external structure of plants. Sections include leaf structure, leaf and leaflet shapes, edges, and leaf folding, and there are links to some other terms and resources.

    Link location Glossary of leaf morphology - Wikipedia
    Submitted by Douglas Justice
    Submitted date 9 Sep 2020; last confirmed 9 Sep 2020

    Hungarian Flora - Fotóalbum: Képgaléria - Botanikai Fórum
    The picture gallery is a part of the forum (Képgaléria - Botanikai Fórum). This site is run by UBCBG forum member Lila Pereszke, who writes "we have at the moment 8 different galleries. In the first line we have 4 galleries about Hungarian native species (1-Flora of Hungary; 2-Mosses of H.; 3-Lichens of H.; 4-Mushrooms of H.-not opened yet...), in the second line we have 4 thematic galleries: 1-Buds; 2-Barks; 3-Seeds and fruits; 4-Bulbs and tubers. These thematic galleries contain not just native plants, but everything that fits the theme.

    "As you can see, the picture galleries are not finished yet, they are in different developmental stages. Every registered VIP forum member can anytime add new pics and open new albums to complete the collections."

    The gallery contains more than 2500 species. In Hungarian, but not too difficult to navigate (search is at Keresés - Botanikai Fórum, or use the Google translated Search Page).

    Link location Képgaléria - Botanikai Fórum, or Google translated Photo Gallery
    Submitted by Lila Pereszke
    Submitted date 31 Aug 2017; last confirmed 12 Nov 2019

    Mingiweng's Flickr Albums
    Taiwanese Flickr member Mingiweng has over 60,000 photos almost entirely of plants growing wild in Taiwan, all excellent photos, often 50 of the same species, taken in different seasons, so including flowers, fruits, buds, stems, bark, habit photos. There is often no text, or a single line in English, with the botanical name of the plant in his language and in Latin. This collection is particularly useful for noting details to distinguish between species. Some of the photos are saved in albums of flowers, leaves, and fruits.

    Link location 翁明毅
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 6 Oct 2020; last confirmed 6 Oct 2020

    Minnesota Wildflowers
    Not just wildflowers! If a tree, shrub, flower, grass or fern you want to know about happens to grow in Minnesota, even rarely, the information on this site is detailed, often with comparisons to similar plants, and the photos are excellent. There is an alphabetic browse, and search by six characteristics or by flower colour. This is a privately run site that requests a minimal but not obligatory annual donation.

    Link location Minnesota Wildflowers
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 5 Mar 2018; last confirmed 5 Mar 2018

    This is a desktop and mobile app, in Spanish, launched in Mexico by the National Commission for the knowledge and use of biodiversity (CONABIO) in collaboration with iNaturalist. The site invites submissions for IDs, and you can search by genus or location. It's not clear whether the database consists just of what has been submitted for ID. Click Observaciones or Especies to start.

    Link location Una comunidad para naturalistas · NaturaLista
    Submitted by
    Submitted date 6 Nov 2017; last confirmed 18 Nov 2017

    Neotropikey: Neotropical Flowering Plant Families
    From Kew Botanical Gardens, a multi-access key (70 features) to 319 flowering plant families of the Neotropics. An alternate site is offered if the page does not load: Lucid Online Player - Key to the Flowering Plant Familes of the Neotropics. Kew's image database is also available at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: Neotropical live plant image database.

    Link location: Neotropikey: Key to Neotropical plant families
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 23 Aug 2015; last confirmed 11 May 2017

    OSU Plant Identification System
    Oregon State University Department of Horticulture's Woody Plant identification system allows you to identify an unknown woody plant using a list of features. Click the appropriate link for the kind of plant you are attempting to identify. The identification is limited to the more than 900 woody plants in the Oregon State Univ. Landscape Plants website; the search facility is split into broadleaf and conifers. You can also browser by common name and by botanical name.

    Link location Plant Identification System
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 1 Jun 2016; last confirmed 10 Oct 2020

    Plantaholic Sheila's Flickr albums
    Our own forum member Silver surfer has posted excellent photos of many plants from her former garden in Wales, in addition to 220 named Acers species and cultivars. Every single plant was labelled and catalogued. The 1300 photos are split into five albums alphabetically. As well, Sheila has added to flickr more than 20,000 photos, many tropical, from her travels. These albums are arranged alphabetically by family, and also by genus in some alphabetical subsets (Singapore, Hawaii, Acer).

    Link location
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 01 Apr 2017; last confirmed 01 Apr 2017

    Plantlife is a British conservation charity working nationally and internationally to save threatened wild flowers, plants and fungi. You can browse alphabetical pages of plant and fungi species and do limited filtering. Check the Site Map page to see what all is available.

    Link location Plant & Fungi Species
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 03 Oct 2017; last confirmed 03 Oct 2017

    Southwestern Plants by Corolla Characteristics
    There are some other pages on this site, but this particular one has a lot of photos arranged by petal size and symmetry, then colour.

    Link location Southwestern Plants
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 14 July 2020; last confirmed 14 July 2020

    Top Tropicals
    This plant retailer in Fort Myers, Florida, established in 2003, calls themselves the "World's Leading Authority on Tropical Plants". Their catalog approaches 5000 plants and they have almost 50,000 photos that are searchable by plant name or family name, with some filtering options, and there are usually many good photos for each plant. Plants are in the catalog that are not necessarily in stock.

    Link location Plant Finder
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 8 Feb 2019; last confirmed 8 Feb 2019
    Blake Willson, whose Flickr pages are listed separately, has developed this tree library for students, professors, laymen, artists, naturalists – anyone studying trees or who just appreciates their beauty. Need more pictures for a dendrology class, or to make your own collection, or to add background to a new website? You are welcome to use information from this site for non-commercial purposes.

    Link location
    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 03 Apr 2017; last confirmed 03 Apr 2017

    Wild Flower Finder
    This is a UK site on which you can browse or do a non-hierarchical search by characteristics. They have a lot more categories than just wildflowers, including trees, shrubs, grasses, ferns, several more. There are a lot of characteristics you can tick or select, including type of smell! But not leaf shape - most of the characteristics are about the flowers. The individual plant pages have a lot of photos of habit, leaves, flowers front and back, fruits. It says it will work well on a mobile device, but there is not a separate app.

    Submitted by wcutler
    Submitted date 14 May 2015; last confirmed 11 May 2017