Welcome to FloraFinder
FloraFinder aims to help you identify wild North American plants. If it is a reasonably common plant, or a fungus, or even a slime mold, I’m trying to get it online. I’m also developing a system to assist with IDs, but that remains in the future for now.
FloraFinder focuses on common wild plants. It is not a gardening or horticulture site. It isn’t a serious mushroom site either: if you are interested in the complexities of mushroom identification, and especially if you are foraging for them, check out Michael Kuo’s MushroomExpert.com site, or Tom Volk’s Fungi site. FloraFinder isn’t really a foraging or herbal medicine site either, though I try to include basic edibility, toxicity, and medical information, as well as a touch of herbal folklore. FloraFinder is about finding flora.
I am not a botanist! I got interested in learning about flora fairly recently, while walking or hiking, and I am still an amateur. I hope this site will eventually make it easy for amateurs like me to identify the plants they encounter while walking.
Currently FloraFinder lists 2923 species; so far, articles have been written for only about 45% of these. In lists, species that don’t yet have an article are marked with a writing hand (✍).
To get started, type a search term in the box above, or select an option at right. The species and common name indices include thumbnails. The complete index includes every common name and every scientific name, including those that are obsolete, for the species that are so far included.
There are a few tricks you can use when using the search box.
Botanists searching to describe plant features found that no languages had words for many of them. So they made them up, inventing, among other things, an entire branch of Latin called botanical Latin. I used to avoid terms like raceme or lanceolate because they don’t sound natural, but later I settled on highlighting such terms and defining them when you move the cursor over them.
If you cannot tell the type of a plant you have seen, consider the following:
Special thanks to Jacquelyn Boyt, who contributed a large number of photos of species, many from the southeastern United States.
Take a look at WildflowerSearch.org, Steve Sullivan’s site, with excellent search capability and very detailed range maps. Steve has assembled high quality photos from many different sources to produce a list approaching 8000 species of flowering plants.
Interested in desert flora? Take a look at Gene Sturla’s excellent site, Southwest Desert Flora. Gene worked for many years as a Wildlife Manager and Statewide Wildlife Supervisor for the Arizona Game & Fish Department. The site is well organized, and the photography is top notch.
Have a weakness for aboretums? Take a look at Emily Moore’s USA-wide summary: 55 Arboretums Everyone Should Put on Their Bucket List.
If you are interested in macro photography, here are some tips and suggestions intended for users of DSLR or point-and-shoot cameras.
Click a state or province to display species that are found there. (If the map doesn’t work right, use the search box. For example “range NV” displays plants found in Nevada.)