If you’ve ever loitered around gardening forums, Yahoo! Answers Garden & Landscape section or read comments on some of the gardening blogs you will notice that flower identification is a common thread. Gardeners looking for a flower identification tool are becoming more common.
These pleas for help usually display as “Can someone please tell me what plant this is? My MIL gave it to me for Christmas 3 years ago and I have no idea how to care for it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.”
The questions usually come from novice gardeners looking for a quick answer. They don’t want to scroll through reams of pictures in an image gallery hoping that they might get lucky. They want an answer, NOW.
However, the problem with identifying flowers and plants is that there are millions of possibilities. If I challenged you to come up with 10 purple flowers within a minute I’m sure the challenge wouldn’t be too difficult. In fact, you probably have at least that many growing in your garden.
So, flower identification can be an almost impossible undertaking, even – or should I say, especially – on the web.
Flower Identification Tool Ideas
Here are a few resources that might make the job of flower identification a little easier;
Dave’s Garden (paid subscription needed) – this is possibly one of the best flower and plant databases around. With the search facility constructed the way that it is, you should find it incredibly helpful.
My only misgiving with Dave’s Garden is that you need a paid subscription to access it. With all the advertising that this site is pushing, there shouldn’t be a need to charge the consumer as well. And, it’s a big disadvantage for novice gardeners who may only want to access this resource once or twice.
University of Texas in Austin’s Native Plant Database [No longer available] is one of many wildflower databases available. Others are PlantNet – the Botanic Gardens Trust of Sydney’s database and CALM’s Florabase which lists West Australian wildflowers.
And while these are good and very helpful for specific flowers they aren’t terribly useful when it comes to identifying flowers that grow in most people’s gardens.
Homestead Garden Forums – forums are always a good place to fall back on when you can’t get any satisfaction elsewhere. Most forum users are only too happy to help you identify your flower and if you can find a local gardener then your chances of success are even better.
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification – is also a great resource for the beginner who is trying to understand how to make sense of plant shapes, textures and taxonomy.
If you know of any flower identification tools that exist please add them in the comments and I shall endeavour to update this post.
Annie at the Transplantable Rose has offered this great site as well – Kemper Centre for Home Gardening.