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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 3120 species; so far, articles have been written for only about 42% 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.

If you cannot tell the type of a plant you have seen, consider the following:

  • If it looks like something the dog threw up, it is probably a slime mold—a few of these are listed under fungi.
  • If it looks like a plant, but it isn't green, it might be a plant that gets its energy by preying on other plants, so it doesn't need chlorophyll. Examples include indian pipes (Monotropa) and broomrapes. These are listed like other flowers.
  • If it looks like a miniature pine tree, it could be a ground cedar, ground pine, or club moss—see the ferns.
  • Those ear-shaped masses often seen on the sides of trees or deadwood are bracket fungi, listed with other fungi.
  • Colorful, often translucent slimy or jelly-like protrusions from wood are also fungi.
  • Grasslike plants with spiky yellowish, greenish or brown “flowers” may be sedges, listed under grasses.
  • Plants you would swear are cacti—they look identical to cacti—may be members of the complex genus Euphorbia. They are listed as flowers or sometimes as trees and shrubs.
  • Long tubes with large grass-like leaves and fuzzy tops are rushes. So is bamboo. Both are listed under grasses.
  • Or just check the weird stuff department.

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.

Happy hunting!

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Plant categories:

Red flower Pink flower Orange flower Yellow flower Brown/green flower Blue/violet flower White flower Wildflowers (herbaceous plants) by color
Tree Woody plants: trees or shrubs
Fungi Fungi: mushrooms, bracket fungi, gel fungi
Grasses Grasses, sedges, and rushes
Lichens Lichens
Mosses Mosses, liverworts
Ferns Ferns, horsetails, clubmosses, firmosses, ground cedars, quillworts, and spikemosses
Galls Galls: growths on plants created by insects or fungi
Fruit Fruits: berries, seed pods, achenes, cones, etc.
Other Weird stuff: parasitic plants, plant diseases, non-photosynthetic plants, slime molds, terrestrial algae, carnivorous plants

Climate cateogries:

Aquatic climate Aquatic plants, including some plants that are seasonally wet or found near water
Tropical climate Tropical or subtropical plants
Arid climate Arid climate plants, such as cacti, agaves, and aloes

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.)