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Thread: Plant Identification

  1. #1
    Member jaidynfaith's Avatar
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    Plant Identification

    I live in kansas and i am trying to study plants at home. I am curious of Angelica and Sweet grass, Im finding that there are several plants that copy these and it makes it troubling to identify these two without a teacher, Youtube and Google are just not enough.

    Also side note i just found out that there are two looks of a dandelion

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Plant Identification

    Oh, well, that's always a problem.

    Wait till you try to work with mushrooms - you'll discover that the difference between a mushroom that makes you jolly, and a mushroom that leads to a long, painful death may be as minor as the number of gills under the hood...

    When you don't know, ask - and make sure you ask somebody who REALLY does know...
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    Cannibal Rights Activist Ophidia's Avatar
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    Re: Plant Identification

    It's best to start out with plants that don't have many (or preferably, any) deadly lookalikes. Angelica is too similar to water hemlock to mess around with as a beginner. Plants will look different depending on the stage of development, time of year, etc. Get some good plant anatomy books and some good photographic guides to plants in your area.

    One thing that I've done is guided wilderness hikes in my area - contact your local Parks & Recreation departments, or even Dept. of Agriculture, Extension Offices, sometimes even the Bureau of Land Management and see if they have anything like that. Museums of Natural History or botanical gardens may also offer low-cost classes or seminars.

    If you like to go plant hunting, never, ever eat a plant you can't identify, and bring along some disposable gloves because many plants can cause skin reactions. Take good detailed photos, some notes about where you found the plant, and preserve a good specimen (like a leaf, part of a stem, flower and/or seed or fruit) and take it to one of the agencies I mentioned - they may do free or low-cost identification. It would be a good idea to learn about protected plants in your area early on, so that way you don't end up picking an endangered species.

    And yeah, like Corbin states about mushrooms - you can only eat the wrong one once. I've been working wildcrafting for almost 30 years, but I still don't feel comfortable enough to harvest wild mushrooms.
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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Plant Identification

    As a rule, I am a big advocate of learning from books, but, in my experience, when it comes to plant identification, unless you are REALLY good at paying close attention to the descriptions in ID manuals, it is best to have somebody show you exactly what to look for.

    People easily confuse mayflower for yarrow, or cinquefoil for maryjane - but someone who knows the difference can SHOW you how to accurately tell the difference in about 20 seconds, and you'll never make the mistake again.

    (I've smoked cinquefoil because friends thought they found the mother load of wild MJ)
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    Member jaidynfaith's Avatar
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    Re: Plant Identification

    LOL how did that work out for you

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Plant Identification

    Quote Originally Posted by jaidynfaith View Post
    LOL how did that work out for you
    I don't recommend it...
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

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    Mostly Harmless nbdy's Avatar
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    Re: Plant Identification

    Most universities have online identification tools that can be used by the general public, and the USDA has some good databases, too. If you are really, really serious, learn how to use a botanical key. Seek and you will find. That said, I have foraged for decades and have not seen a reason to go after look-alikes when the partner plant can be deadly. There actually aren't that many of them, truth be told, and we hardly live in an environment of scarcity where it's worth it to take that chance.

    "No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical." -- Niels Bohr

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Plant Identification

    there are some good youtube channels...

    like this guy:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLR...G1APiwUzeTwrJw

    his website is awesome too

    Also, look at your local native plant societies. They often do walks that are open to the public.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
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