Identifying plants is very much a learned, and practiced skill. Anyone can learn to do it, if you are willing to put in plenty of time practicing. It’s just like any other skill, like learning an instrument or a new language or craft. There might be a slight learning curve at first, but once you get some of the basics, the first cords on the guitar, the grammatical rules in a new language, or how to cast on and those essential ‘knit 1, purl 2’ stitches in knitting, you will be well on your way to mastering it. Practice makes perfect.
Foundation to Plant Identification
If learning guitar cords is the foundation to playing your first song, then what is the foundation of plant identification? It comes down to being observant. Very observant. But also knowing what exactly you need to be observing. There are basic plant structures that you need to be aware of so that you can start comparing one to the other. Is the leaf lobed, or toothed? Or perhaps both? Are the branches full of single or compound leaves, and how are those different? What does the flower look like, does the flower stems come off the main plant stem laterally, or all out of the top of the plant? are the leaves in a whorl pattern or opposite?
This and so much more. You need to start learning what plants you want to identify, and then observe them through the year. Do they bloom in spring, summer, autumn? Do they bloom at all? What if we get a lot of rain one summer, how could that change the growth of plants and the look of them? What if they are growing in a spot that is not ideal? How will the environment change their growth and look?
Years of experience
Even with years of experience, I can confidently identify very few plants that grow right outside my front door. Sure, I might know more than some, but there are sooo many plants, herbs, wildflowers, trees and shrubs! I will never in this lifetime, learn them all. But it is something I am always working toward learning more of.
In my free plant identification class (part 1) it is these foundational tools we will be going over. I’ll outline with graphics in a zoom call, a very basic overview of plant anatomy and structure. You’ll be made aware of all the parts of plants that maybe you were not aware of being important when you are attempting to distinguish one plant from another.
I will also discuss environmental differences (how terrain and/or weather can make a difference in plants average size and shape), as well as discuss the different stages of life that can make a plant look very different.
If we have time in the 30 min class, I’ll show you photos of specific plants to watch out for, beneficial and poisonous ones you are bound to come across in your wild walks. What we don’t have time for will be covered in part 2 of the plant identification class in following weeks.
To register for this class head over to the “Plant Identification Class Part 1” page, click ‘add to cart’ and ‘check out’. This is a free class so no cc information is required. Once you complete registration, you will get an email with the zoom link to join the class at the scheduled date. Check out the “Herb Classes” page for all the current classes and their scheduled times. (Contact me about rescheduling classes if the listed dates don’t work for you).
Thanks for reading!
Blessings in Christ – Kerry