Plant ID: for experienced botanists

On this page we point you towards all the webpages and downloadable files we know about to help the more experienced botanist identify wild plants. If you are just starting out with plant identification, we suggest that you try this page first. There's extra help on offer to BSBI members who can consult our network of 100+ plant experts. Our members will also find useful information on plant ID in our periodicals. *NEW* Check out our new videos page for even more ID help.

ID resources

BSBI publishes a range of Handbooks for difficult plants as well as Floras, ID keys and the Plant Crib. Many of the files from the Plant Crib are available for you to download free of charge from the Plant Crib page.

There are some useful hand-outs on the Recorders' Conference webpage to help you identify tricky plants such as docks, willow-herbs, firs and aquatics; you can also download Tim Rich's introductions to identifying dandelion characters and sections. 

*NEW* Erigeron (Conyza) key by Martin Rand

Andy Amphlett's   ID guide to sundews (Drosera spp. inc hybrids)

Stonewort ID Key by Nick Stewart.

Guidance from Andy Amphlett on Identification of subspecies of Puccinellia distans.

Jeremy Roberts’s website on Trichophorum, Eleocharis, Viola rupestris and Hymenophyllum. And click on the link to download Jeremy's Trichophorum (Deergrass) fieldguide.

Notes on eyebrights by Alan Silverside.

Andy Amphlett’s key to Balsam Poplars.

Dog Rose taxonomic revisions

If you’re a real expert, you can try identifying northern hawkweeds using Tim Rich’s online key. - good luck!

Check out these pages too:

FSC multi-access keys

Have you tried these new multi-access keys from FSC Biolinks?

Have a go and let us know what you think!

Plant experts

Members of the BSBI can make exclusive use of our network of 100+ plant experts, who will name difficult plants for you. There are two referees just for beginners; specialists in garden shrubs and cultivated trees; aquatics and alpines; as well as experts in orchids, grasses, tricky plant families...

Contact details for our experts/ referees are in the BSBI Yearbook, which is sent out to members each year in January and is available via our password-protected members-only area. If you’re not a member, and you are interested in plant identification, you may want to think about joining BSBI.