Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.
College of St. Benedict/St. John�s University
Collegeville, MN 56321
There is no reason for a plant lover to go dormant in the winter like our green friends. Herbaceous plants can be readily identified by their winter �skeletons.� This guide provides a very brief overview of winter weed identification. So, what should you look for?
I. Plant Growth Form (habit)
Height - (i.e., tall, short)
Mode (i.e., upright, prostrate, vines)
Branching pattern (i.e., unbranched, branched)
General shape (i.e., wand-like, elm-like, flat-topped)
II. Habitat (i.e., where does it grow? prairie, roadside, swamp, bog, wood edge, forest)
III. Underground Structures
Roots - type (i.e., taproot, fibrous, tuberous)
Stems � rhizomes, bulbs, corms (shape, color, texture)
Shape (i.e., round, square, five-angled)
Attachment (i.e., alternate, opposite, whorled)
Position (i.e., cauline, basal)
Texture (i.e., smooth, hairy)
Type (i.e., simple, dissected, compound)
VI. Inflorescence type (i.e., spike, umbel, raceme, panicle, head)
VII. Flower remnants (i.e., sepals, bracts, receptacles, ovary)
type (i.e., capsule, achene, hip, berry, drupe, grain)
texture (i.e., smooth, hairy, spiny)
Shape (i.e., round, flat, triangular)
Texture (i.e., smooth, ridged, hairy, spiny)
Levine, Carol. 1995. A Guide to Wildflowers in Winter. Yale University Press, New Haven.
Embertson, Jane. 1979. Pods. Wildflowers and Weeds in Their Final Beauty. Charles Scribner�s, NY.
Brown, L. 1976. Weeds in Winter. WW Norton & Company, NY.
Roberts, June Carver. 1993. Season of promise: Wild Plants in Winter in NE US. Ohio University Press, Athens.
Matching: Can you match the plant with its common name? (this was part of a presentation for the Audubon Society in which dried weeds labeled with their scientific name were available for study)
_______Great St. John�s wort