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NC State Extension

Use the Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox to Identify Plants

en Español

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home page of plant toolbox

Screenshot for Identify a Plant

 In the upper left corner of the Plant Toolbox home page click “Identify a Plant”
(circled in blue above)

Menu -Plant Toolbox

In the left column select the filters that include the characteristics you think might be most helpful in identifying your plant. Under each general category (“Whole Plant Traits,” “Flowers,” Leaves,” “Fruit,” “Stem,” and “Bark”) you can use the down arrows to choose specific details you have observed in the plant you are trying to identify.

Menu Plant Toolbox

For example, if your plant is an evergreen weeping tree or shrub, under “Whole Plant Traits” you can choose among “Broadleaf Evergreen,” “Deciduous,” “Needled Evergreen,” or “Semi-evergreen.” If you select “Needled Evergreen” and then search the drop-down menu under “Habit/Form” for “Weeping” 

Menu Plant Toolbox

screen shot

To reduce the number of matching plants, select additional characteristics in the left column. For example, note any observable flowers or fruit, noticeable stem color, or distinctive bark characteristics to help you focus on the most likely identification.

If your plant is herbaceous, flower characteristics may be the most useful filters, along with leaf characteristics. For example, a plant with yellow flowers that bloom in the spring, has opposite leaf arrangement, and leaves that are less than 1 inch long.

screen shot

You can always check the top of the window (highlighted in yellow in the example above) to see which characteristics you have included in your search. If you want to add more filters, select them from the column at the left. To delete filters, you can also click on the tab with the filter name at the top of the screen.

If you don’t find a match for your plant it may not be in the database yet!