A quick guide to identifying flowers by their leaves

At this time of year, with spring slowly emerging around us, it can sometimes be a time of slight frustration for ecologists living in our seasonal climate. They cannot wait until the full summer sun is shining on their skin, and the nature around them reveals its full beauty and display. The early summer months are a time of great profusion and are consequently when most of an ecologist’s wildflower ID takes place. At this time, the presence of flowers makes it a lot easier to narrow down certain species, and in March this proves quite difficult, especially if you are an amateur like myself.

However, a lot of wildflower ID is actually focused on the leaves of wildflowers, and as perennial plants lay dormant through the winter of their first year, their vegetative structure is available for ID. So for those ecologists eager to get out and make their first plant ID’s of the year then go do it now! There are many leaves out there waiting and it also offers a chance to reflect upon the different lifespans of flowering plants. Below is a quick guide to leaf ID I drew up this morning. For more information of wildflower ID then I would recommend buying ‘The Wildflower Key’ by Francis Rose, an absolute essential for any budding botanist!


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