How to identify plants

Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by 2annbrow, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    Location:
    North Bend OR US;Oregon coast, just N of Coos Bay
    Hello, Daniel, and any other folks who know!
    I want to educate myself in botany, with particular emphasis on plant identification. I'd love to enroll in the BCU, but don't have the money. I don't want to become an "expert," but I'd like to learn the vocabularies and processes of plant identification. Since I'm pretty much home-bound, I would need computer sources, preferrably without streaming videos. All I have is dial-up, and it's incredibly slow.
    If you have good recommendations for me, I would surely appreciate having them. I plan to take this in "baby steps," so think of it as recommending - oh, say, for a third-year college level ordinary student.
    Obviously, I'll take all responsibility for my own learning; I just need to know where to start! I don't want to become either a "clumper" or a "splitter," but I do want to be able to understand the "how" and the "why" when people say that a plant belongs in this group or that. I've learned more here in this forum, in the short time that I've been a member, than in many years spent in nurseries and with other gardeners.
    You folks have wakened my thirst - now can you please lead me to the water?
    Many thanks!
     
  2. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Hey, Ann---take a look at this book. I like it a lot. It is written for folks who have a desire to learn and a passion for plants, but who are just regular people. Logical, clear, and makes sense to me.

    http://www.hopspress.com/Books/Botany_in_a_Day.htm
     
  3. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Do purchase Sunset's New Western Garden Book specifically the newest edition.... you will love it!
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Given you are using dial-up, I'd first of all like to know if you are using a web browser that allows you to hold back images until you want to see them (e.g., Firefox). That'll rapidly increase your ability to browse pages.

    What do you think of the online course materials available from Wayne Armstrong at Palomar Community College?

    Botany 115 / 110 Course Syllabi

    It's quite comprehensive. Unfortunately, it's not entirely targeted to Plant ID (though it does a good job). He does provide a good overview of terminology and a lot of interesting anecdotes.
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    If you are using Firefox, the Flashblock extension will prevent the automatic download of Flash content thus saving bandwidth. This has the added benefit of reducing the volume of ads since many are done in Flash.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    How does one activate these?
     
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    A bit off-topic, but I think it'll be helpful to Ann if she gets it to work.

    For preventing image loading, apparently the option in the standard browser in Firefox is buggy (so the option is there, but it doesn't work).

    However, I just tried the ImgLikeOpera add-on, and it works very well. Assuming you are using Firefox 2 or higher, install the add-on. Then go to Tools ->Add-ons -> ImgLikeOpera -> Options to adjust your settings.

    If you choose to block all images, then the next time you open a window or tab, all images will be blocked until you right-click -> load image.
     
  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I should have included the link for Flashblock in my previous post. It is installed as an add-on.
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks! Looking at the Flashblock page, it says "Macromedia Flash"; is that the same as "Adobe Flash"?
     
  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Same product. According to Wikipedia, Macromedia was acquired by Adobe Systems in 2006.
     
  11. 318830

    318830 Member

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    I love the book recommendation! Thanks for that!!
     
  12. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    The Audobon Field Guide to North American Wildflowers is also an invaluable tool for learning plant ID, especially for Canada and the US. It's how I started, actually. Very helpful, since the plants are arranged by colour and flower structure, which are the two major points to look for in most IDs. The major genera are written up in the back with pointers on how to ID them in the field from common characteristics.
     
  13. plant fairy

    plant fairy Member

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    take pictures of plants around your area you are not familiar with and post them for identification learning for me is improoved if done in real world situations

    contact your local extension office or website go take a tour of their facilities ours is magnificent(tallahassee, florida
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2009
  14. terrestrial_man

    terrestrial_man Active Member 10 Years

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  15. plant fairy

    plant fairy Member

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    thanks terrestrial man GREAT web site
     

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