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I am taking a biology lab class and I need to identify all these plants which are from the San Francisco area.

My question is how can I find the right keyword to find their names on internet? Or can you recommend any book that I can find in library?

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    $\begingroup$ some pictures with more details would be great. the plants are all quit jung - which make it difficult. also some additional inforamtion about the context: it look a little bit like a peatland? is it a kind of garden? or what is the type of landuse in your side? $\endgroup$
    – and-bri
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ Those are grow under the shade of the pine cone tree which is near by my college. I have no idea how to use the word to find them on google. Yes I can post clearly picture if you would like to help me pick some word to find them. Thanks $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


I'm going to refrain from giving you the answers because the point of the assignment is to learn how to do it yourself.

You should likely start by using a dichotomous key (likely provided by your instructor).

You could also try searching the Jepson California eflora or CNPS Identifying Native Plants for online keys.

Check out the California Native Plant Exchange website if you don't know the name of the plant but know the general area where you saw it.

If you don't know what general type of plant you have, you should try keying the plants to family first to get better search terms. Try here.

If you don't know plant terminology used in these keys, try "Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary" (Harris & Harris, 2001)

  • $\begingroup$ I am from another country who just move in here and I already try all those words that you show me but still did not get how those plants look like some kind of group. That's why I try to ask more specific word. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 20:19
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    $\begingroup$ @SiriwanLaoketkit This is not a guide to keywords for google, it was a guide to identification key websites and books which help you identify plants, usually by a step by step questionnaire. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identification_key $\endgroup$
    – skymningen
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 8:10

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