So if you are like me, you have probably noticed all kinds of interesting wild plants growing around, but don't know enough about them to identify them. I live in a very urban neighbor city of Boston, so I am limited in what I can gather in the wild. Nonetheless, there are some interesting plants growing around my property and in the neighborhood and I have often wondered if they are of any magical or medicinal use.
It seems the key is to familiarise yourself with the different families of plants and thier characteristics. It makes it easier to classify an unknown plant and then reference them.
I'm still learning, but I'd like to share some links that I have found that can aid in identifying these plants.
"The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories."
This is the largest database I have found. There is lots of great info here.
"Plant Identification, Edible Plants, Weed Ecology, Mushrooms, and more."
This website has an online course that teaches "Botany in a Day". There are tons of plant families to reference here that are native to the southwest and western USA.
"MountainNature.com is designed to make identification fast and easy. If you know the common or Latin name of the plant you are seeking, simply use the quick search.."
You can search their database by group, family, genus, common name and even color.
" ...search for 7,220 native plants by scientific or common name or choose a particular family of plants."
This is the database for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin. You can search by region, type, plant characteristics, bloom time, life duration and much more.
There are many many more sites out there that provide tools for identification. Most states maintain their own databases for instance. However, I have found these links to have the largest and broadest scope.
I hope that, like myself, these links aid you in your search.