American Wildflower Identification Notes

What we do and how we do it

A tremendous amount of wildflower information exists both online and in printed book form. The trouble with most of these sources is twofold; none of them offer a complete list of wildflowers, and many different common names may be use when identifying the same species. These two issues can be somewhat frustrating when trying to identify a new wildflower. To add further confusion, the photos provided are quite often of poor quality and inconclusive.

We use a variety of books and many different web sites to help us identify our wildflowers. We compare the flowers themselves, the leaves, the seed pods, emerging buds, stalks, anything that we could use to narrow down the possibilities.

In an effort to create at least one constant in the identification process, we use the Plants Database of the United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service for all common names we show on our website. Below each common name is the scientific name in italics. The scientific name is clickable and takes you directly to the USDA page for that species.

In some cases we include other common names used to identify the same plant. Some you may recognize, some you may not. You will see these aliases, if available, when you mouse-over the thumbnail of a wildflower. Be sure to allow a second or two for them to pop-up before you click on the thumbnail to view the images.

While we find the USDA site to be one of the most reliable, there are others that are extremely valuable in helping us confirm an identification. Some provide excellent photos as well as species information. Listed below are a few of the sites we rely on quite heavily.

These sites, as well as others, can often be found listed on the 'Related Links' tab (if present) at the top of the USDA species page. The listings will include clickable links that take you directly to the species page on the external sites.

Below is a list of the wildflower reference books and field guides we are currently using. This list will be updated as necessary.

  • National Audubon Society Field Guide To Wildflowers - Eastern Region
  • National Wildlife Federation Field Guide To Wildflowers of North American; David M. Brandenburg
  • The Guide to Florida Wildflowers; Walter Kingsley Taylor
  • Florida Wildflowers in Their Natural Communities; Walter Kingsley Taylor
  • Wildflowers of Florida and the Southeast; David W. Hall, William J. Weber - Edited by Jason H. Byrd
  • The Shrubs & Woody Vines of Florida; Gil Nelson
  • Florida Wildflowers; Walter Kingsley Taylor
  • Native Wildflowers and Other Ground Covers for Florida Landscapes; Craig N. Huegel
  • The Practical Botanist; Rick Imes
  • Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida, Third Edition; Richard P. Wunderlin & Bruce F. Hansen
  • Wildflowers of Florida, Field Guide; Jaret C. Daniels & Stan Tekiela
  • Florida Wild Flowers and Roadside Plants; C. Ritchie Bell & Bryan J. Taylor
  • Wildflowers of the Southeast, Field Guide; Jaret C. Daniels & Stan Tekiela
  • Forest Plants of The Southeast And Their Wildlife Uses; James H. Miller & Karl V. Miller
  • The Ferns of Florida; A Reference And Field Guide; Gil Nelson
  • A Flora of Tropical Florida, A Manual of the Seed Plants and Ferns of Southern Peninsular Florida; Robert W. Long & Olga Lakela
  • Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Florida; Linda G. Chafin
  • Wild Flowers of the United States - Volume One, The Northeastern States; Harold William Rickett
  • Wild Flowers of the United States - Volume Two, The Southeastern States; Harold William Rickett
  • Wild Flowers of the United States - Volume Three, Texas; Harold William Rickett
  • Wild Flowers of the United States - Volume Four, South Western; Harold William Rickett
  • Wild Flowers of the United States - Volume Five, The Northwestern States; Harold William Rickett
  • Wild Flowers of the United States - Volume Six, The Central Mountains and Plains; Harold William Rickett
  • Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary; James G. Harris & Melinda Woolf Harris
  • Wildflowers of Eastern America; John E. Klimas & James A. Cunningham
  • Wildflowers of the Eastern United States; Wilbur H. Duncan & Marion B. Duncan
  • Florida Freshwater Plants: A Handbook of Common Aquatic Plants in Florida Lakes; Hoyer, Canfield, Jr., Horsburgh, Brown
  • Priceless Florida: Natural Ecosystems and Native Species; Ellie Whitney, D. Bruce Means, and Anne Rudloe
  • Central Florida Wildflowers:A Field Guide; Roger L. Hammer

We feel we have done the best job possible using the resources we have at our disposal, but we are not experts in this field. If you suspect that any of our wildflowers have been misidentified we would love to hear from you.

Please enjoy the wildflowers!

Note: We live in Florida, so the majority of the wildflowers presented here will be from Florida. As we get the opportunity to travel to other parts of the country we will add any wildflowers we find along the way. Therefore we prefer to label them "American Wildflowers."

Last updated: 12/04/2017

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