Unidentified flora and fauna

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Unidentified flora and fauna
Created On: Jul 25, 2007
Last Edited On: Apr 11, 2009

What this album hopes to achieve

This album aims to serve as a tool if you need help in identifying plants, trees or animals you took a picture of.

There is a wealth of information in the SP community, and some members are very skillful in this area. This page tries to bring together those needing help with those in the know.

Feel free to add your pictures (specify where the picture was taken) if you just need that last bit of advice in deciding between two subspecies, or if you have absolutely no idea what you took a picture of, and please detach them once you are satisfied with the answers received. (Anything that's identified down to the genus shouldn't count as "unidentified", at least not after some time has passed. There are lots of cases where even a professional can't tell the exact species, especially from a photograph.)

To improve the chances of successful identification in the case of flowers, it is a good idea for the pictures to include both bloom and foliage. Including the size of the bloom and the height of the plant in the description helps. The location and time of year are helpful, too. Context also helps - examples: "Along a stream running through mountain hemlock and meadows", "at the timber line", or "under ponderosa pines".

And you experts, please stop by from time to time to help out others by commenting on the pictures themselves. Thank you!

Also share with others what books, websites or other resources you use to identify plants and wildlife.

Some basic advice

Some basic advice on identifying plants from nartreb.

If you know the common name, the easiest thing is to type that in to Google or Wikipedia.

If you don't know the common name, you have to learn to identify major families. For example:
  • If it's got a very large number of ray-shaped petals, like a dandelion, it's probably related to asters (Asteraceae). There's an album on "Sunflowers/Asters" here on SummitPost.
  • If it's got lots of short stamens in a ring, it's probably related to roses (Rosaceae). There's an album on the "Rose Family" here on SummitPost.
  • Azaleas, along with rhododendrons (in fact, azaleas *are* rhododendrons), rosebay (again a kind of rhododendron), laurel (Kalmia), blueberry, and many other shrubs are in the family Ericaceae. They all tend to have waxy, oval-ish leaves which they usually retain in winter, and their petals are fused together to some degree. Blueberries and their many relatives (cowberry, bearberry, cranberry) have small bell-shaped flowers, laurel (Kalmia) has cup-shaped flowers with fused petals, and rhododendrons have big showy flowers with the petals fused only at the base. There's an album of "ericaceous shrubs" here on SummitPost.
  • The iris is loved by many. There's an album on "the family Iridaceae, genus Iris" here on SummitPost. Also check out the Iris Species Database.


    Resources on the web





  • European Mountain flora album on SummitPost.
  • Flora.cyberia
  • FloreAlpes.com (in French)
  • SoortenBank (in Dutch)

    North America

  • Paul Slichter's Flora & Fauna Northwest
  • Paul Slichter's Flora & Fauna of Denali National Park
  • Plants, Birds, Insects, Organisms of Hawaii
  • Calflora
  • USDA PLANTS Database
  • Plants of the Lewis and Clark Trail (for the inland northwest/northern Rocky Mountains)
  • know-it all (a web site with many natural history resources, operated by a bilogist/retired teacher)

    South America

    Resources in print





  • Alpine Flowers: Of Britain and Europe by Christopher Grey-Wilson and Marjorie Blamey
  • Mountain Flowers in Colour by Anthony Huxley

    North America

  • The Peterson Field Guide series
  • Plants Of The Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon
  • Guide to Colorado Wildflowers Vol. 2: The Mountains by G. K. Guennel
  • Flora of the Pacific Northwest: An Illustrated Manual by C. Leo Hitchcock and Arthur Cronquist
  • The Butterflies of Cascadia: A Field Guide to All the Species of Washington, Oregon, and Surrounding Territories by Robert Michael Pyle, Idie Ulsh, and David Nunnallee (definitive, if heavy)
  • The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley (probably the current definitive fild guide to most users, there are LIGHTER Eastern and Western editions)
  • Wildflowers of the Olympics and Cascades by Charles Stewart (Most smaller field guides have a problem with selection of what to leave out. This guy has a genius for including the flowers you are likely to see when climbing and hiking. And the book is LIGHT.)

    South America

    Acknowledgements / credits / thanks

    For their help in identifying flora and fauna: A Bit, alpbabe, Anya Jingle, Arthur Digbee, b., BazZ, birdny, Bob Sihler, Mrs. dh3 and donhaller3, Ejnar Fjerdingstad, Elisabeth, franza mosco, hfaust, hiltrud.liu, Kerstin, klwagar, Lolli, MOCKBA, mrh, nartreb, ochoco, peterbud, tarol.

    10 successful identifications were made in the first 3 days of this album - thanks to all!



    Post a Comment
    Viewing: 21-21 of 21

    Nelson - Dec 3, 2007 5:18 pm - Voted 10/10

    Re: Great idea

    Duh ... flora and fauna ... duh.

    Never mind me, I never was the sharpest tack on the block!

    Viewing: 21-21 of 21

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