tree-logo.gif (7741 bytes) Plant Taxonomy (BIOL308)  -  Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321;;

Study Guide: Identification (including Keys)


Learning Objectives: upon completion of this unit you should be able to:

  1. define identification, nomenclature, classification
  2. describe three major ways to identify an unknown object.
  3. identify and describe the three major types of keys in plant identification
  4. describe the advantages and disadvantages of each major type of plant identification key
  5. write and use a dichotomous key
  6. recognize the difference between bracketed and indented keys
  7. use a polyclave (multiple access key)
  8. use a probability key for native plant community types
  9. describe methods to confirm the identity of a plant


bracketed key
indented key
synoptic key
multiple access key
probability key
polyclave key

Study Questions

  1. how do you know that a particular plant is a species "new to science?"

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Last updated:  08/20/2007 / � Copyright by SG Saupe