Tips and Resources for Identifying Plants

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Show notes:

We’ve all been there. We are walking in the woods, in a field, along a creek bank, around our property, or around the local park and we stumble upon an interesting plant. It isn’t one that we know and we immediately begin to wonder, “what is that?”

It’s a simple question that holds so much potential because once we know what the plant is, we can find out more about it. The plants we find growing in a location can also help tell fascinating stories about the history of that area, provide hints as to the types of animals or even other plants that might also be found there, and so much more. But it all starts with being able to accurately identify the plant.

In today’s episode, I am joined by my husband, Anthony Trimboli. Anthony and I discuss some of the reasons why identifying plants you find can be important and some of the resources you can use for identifying plants (including pros and cons of each resource). We also share some of the things we look at when we are identifying plants.

To make it easier for you to refer back to particular parts of the podcast, here is a rough outline of our conversation and the times we start discussing each topic.

  • Importance of identifying plants: 1:34
  • Apps: 5:05
  • Field guides: 18:45
  • Dichotomous keys: 28:00
  • Building your own knowledge: 35:53
  • Summary: 1:01:46


* Amazon links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying Amazon purchases made the link. The commission is paid by Amazon and comes at no extra cost to you, but helps support the costs associated with hosting the Backyard Ecology blog, podcast, and website.

Episode image:

  • Woodland sunflower
  • Photo credit: USFWS, public domain

Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at

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