Plant Identification Teacher Sheet

Plant Identification Teacher Sheet


In this activity, your students will have the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to identify plants.

[Note: If it is not possible for your class to participate in field work, you should collect several samples the morning of the activity, preserve them in moist paper towels, and have students identify the collected specimens using field guides in class.]

Provide a regional field guide to your students for the completion of this portion of the activity. Students should follow these steps when identifying 10-15 plants:

  1. Students should find plant specimens of their choice, or as specified by you, to identify.
  2. They should observe the main structures of the plant.
  3. They should try to identify the plant by its fruits or flowers (if not present, continue to step 5). Note the flower’s color, shape, size, and cluster type.
  4. Match their observations of the flowers to the descriptions of the flowers provided in the regional field guide. Observe flower color, inflorescence type, and size.
  5. Students should observe the leaf arrangement, shape, and size. Recall the difference between simple and compound leaves and opposite, alternate, and whorled leaf arrangement.
  6. They should then draw or photograph each specimen. Be detailed in their drawings and try to include distinct characteristics for each specimen.
  7. Finally, they should record their observations in a Plant Identification table.

Example Table:  Plant Identification


Flower Color

Flower Cluster Type

Flower Size (length/width cm)

Leaf Arrangement

Leaf Shape

Leaf Size (length/width cm)

Common Name




L: .6-.9 cm

W: .3-.7 cm



L: 1.5-3 cm

W: .3-.9 cm

Miniature Lupine




L: 1-4 cm

W: 2.5-5 cm



L: 2-6.5 cm

W: Wide range

California Poppy

Note: More detailed descriptions of each plant can be found in the “Family and Species Description” portion of your field guide. There may not be enough information in the “Color Plates and Photos” section to properly identify your specimen.

  1. After filling out the table, students should determine the scientific name for each specimen:

Miniature Lupine – Lupinus bicolor     and   California poppy - Escholzia californica

This teacher sheet is a part of the Grassland Plants: Plant Identification lesson.

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