Plant ID Websites

Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest has one of the best tools for trying to identify a plant that I have seen on any website.  You can browse through thumbnailed images by flower color, flower type, as well as by plant family.  Each account includes a description, range map, and several photographs.

Alaska Wildflowers has a great thumbnail gallery as well as functionality to browse by taxonomic grouping. The photography is superb and includes geographic notes.

E-flora Provides plants accounts that are searchable by common and scientific name.  Accounts include plant descriptions, photographs, and pinpoint range maps.

University of Washington Burke Museum Herbarium provides a number of resources for plants, mushrooms, seaweeds, and more.  The WTU Image collection for plants can be searched by common or scientific name and can be browsed by family, or genus.  Accounts include plant descriptions, photographs, and county level range maps.  Herbarium sheets can also be viewed online, key word searched, or browsed.

 Oregon Flora Project is a comprehensive resource for wild and naturalized plants.  It features an interactive plant atlas and both browse-able and common/scientific name searchable photo gallery that includes wild specimens, herbarium sheets, and illustrations.

Calflora provides comprehensive coverage for California’s wild plants.  Accounts are searchable by common or scientific name and include information about the plant community, county level range maps, numerous photographs, and links to other resources.

The Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria is indispensable for those looking for herbarium specimens because it pulls records from the region’s major herbaria.  It has a multivariable search function that allows you to query by plant name, location, collector, and more.  Many records include pictures of the herbarium specimen and locations that are plotted on an interactive map.

USDA plants is a comprehensive listing of plants in North America (focused mainly on the United States).  Accounts are searchable by scientific or common name and include state level range maps that enlarge to the county level.  Search results can be filtered by state.  Color photographs of the plant and seeds are included for many species.  Economically and ethnobotanically significant species have an attached “plant guide” with encyclopedic entries.

eFloras Flora of North America  attempts to cover more than 20,000 species found in North America with taxonomic keys, species descriptions, and usually with photographs, illustrations, and range maps.  13 if 30 volumes are complete and available online and searchable by scientific and common name.

USDA Forest Service Fire Effect Information includes detailed plant descriptions, distribution information at both ecosystem and state levels, as well as fire ecology, fire effects, and management considerations for plants found in North America.

USGS Biodiversity Serving our Nation (BISON) produces county level plant distribution maps for plants found in the United States. Some records can be traced to exact locations within each county. Data are searchable by common or scientific name.

The Biota of North America Program (BONAP) has excellent interactive state and county level plant distribution maps in their North American Plant Atlas (NAPA) which can be browsed by family or genus.

Edible Sierra Nevada Plants has a list of edible plants found in the Sierras and dichotomous keys for ID.

Wikipedia is increasingly becoming a reliable source of biological information.  For best results, search by the scientific name.

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