Identification Key Help Page

  1. Limit species list geographically by selecting a checklist from the pulldown
  2. If possible, limit species list taxonomically by selecting a taxonomic group from pulldown
  3. Click on the Display Species List button. This will display a species checklist matching the geographic and taxonomic scope.
  4. Select morphology to further limit the species list. Each time a character state is selected, the species list is analyzed to determine which characters are the most relevant. By default, only those relevant to at least 90% of the active species list are displayed. For example, grass characters will not be displayed until a majority of taxa within the active species list are members of the grass family.
  5. Clicking on a species name will open the Species Profile page displaying images, descriptions, and a distribution map for that species


  • Clicking on ‘map view’ below the checklist pulldown will open a graphic display of the available checklists. Clicking on a marker will open the key for that checklist
  • Make sure to look carefully at the whole individual. Is the selected state true throughout? For example, if you select opposite leaf placement, make sure it’s true throughout the whole plant.
  • Avoid ambiguous characters. If you are not sure of a character, don’t use it.
  • Use average lengths, not the extremes
  • Green information link to the right of the checklist title will open the complete checklist.

Character: e.g. leaf type, flower color, petal length
Character State: e.g. compound, red, ovate, 43mm