Navigation Buttons & Helpful Hints

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  • Home page
  • Flower ID
  • Plant Search
  • Compare Plants
  • Contributing Your Photos
  • Help Us ID These
  • FAQ
  • Helpful hints

  • Home page

    The Home page briefly explains what each of the seven navigation buttons are for.

    Flower ID

    This is a way to identify a plant by its flower color, shape and number of petals. "Petals" in the Flower ID search are loosely defined as the most obvious colorful parts of the flower. Novice and experienced botanists may count the number of "petals" on a particular flower differently, so the Flower ID has a broader range of the number of petals than is accepted by taxonomists.

    Plant Search

    This page lets you enter as many different criteria about a plant as you know, including the scientific or common name, the plant family, location, flower color, life form and/or bloom time. Just remember that the more criteria you put in, the more restrictive your search results will be. You also can choose how you want the search results displayed: "Photo Gallery," "Checklist" or "Flash Cards."

    "Photo Gallery" lets you see a photo set (plant, leaf, flower, fruit) of each plant that matches your search criteria. You might get confused about the difference between "Photo Gallery" (which is a display choice in Plant Search) and "Compare Plants" (which is one of the navigation buttons). Both allow you to compare plants, but in different ways. "Photo Gallery" shows you four aspects of all the plants that fit your search criteria. For example, you might end up comparing all the plants from Joshua Tree or all the plants in Boraginaceae. "Compare Plants" lets you compare a single aspect for any plants that you select from the database - not restricted by location, family or other criteria.

    "Checklist" produces a list of scientific names of all the plants that fit the criteria you’ve selected. You can click on the name and go directly to that plant’s ID sheet where you will see a photo gallery of that plant. Remember that for some plants, we still don’t have a complete photo set available.

    "Flash Cards" lets you quiz yourself on plants that fit the criteria you’ve selected. The database randomly chooses a plant and shows you a photo-set (plant, leaf, flower and fruit). You will need to type in the scientific name including subsp. or var. if appropriate. If you are stuck, you can get different levels of help: the plant’s family, the plant’s genus, a letter-by-letter hint, or the answer.

    Compare Plants

    You can compare aspects of up to four different plants (e.g., flowers, leaves, fruit). The default is set to "flowers." After you compare the flowers, you can compare a different aspect of the same plant. Use the menu box to change the aspect you’re comparing.

    Contributing Your Photos

    This function allows you to contribute your own photos to our database.

    Help Us ID These

    We could use your help. This page shows plants that we haven’t been able to identify. For some of these plants we know the family or maybe even the genus. For others, we’re totally stumped. In the "All Comments" section, we’ve included whatever else might help to identify the plant such as location or notable characteristics. Put your suggestions in the "Your Comments" box.


    The FAQ provides information about this site and how to use it.

    Helpful hints

    In the "Plant Search," specifying the “Location” may lead to disappointing search results. Search results only show where a plant was photographed – not everywhere the plant can be found.

    Each Plant ID sheet displays our best photos. However, if you want to see all the photos that are available, click "Show all photos." This will let you see our not-so-great photos as well as the good ones. If there are more than 5 photos for a particular plant aspect, use the slide to see additional photos.

    There are two different ways to search for a plant using flower color: "Flower ID" and "Plant Search." In Flower ID, choose as many colors as you like. In Plant Search, first choose the main flower color. If the flower has more than one color, choose a second color from the optional "Additional Flower Color" box.