chapter  5
30 Pages

Identification: Keys and other access methods

ByWilliam Hawthorne

Plant identification is the process of establishing a recognized name for a particular plant or specimen. Ruling out the ‘ask someone else’, and potential automated methods such as DNA barcoding (see Box 5.1), there are two paths or methods to identification in terms of how we think:

1 identification through recognition apparently involves the instantaneous, (‘holistic’ or ‘gestalt’) appreciation of many parts of the plant at once;

2 identification through analysis is the rule-based method, involving a conscious sequence of considerations about individual characteristics, or ‘characters’.