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California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter

Native Plant ID (formerly Keying with Natives)

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Native Plant ID (formerly Keying with Natives) is a Chapter group that works together to learn plant identification using botanical keys and other resources. Join us as we look at plant samples collected from local gardens and practice methods of identifying the native plants of our region. Bring in plant samples if you have some from property where you have permission to collect or just come and work with the materials provided. We will use a variety of plant books and online resources as we endeavor to improve our understanding of botanical terms used in plant identification. The chapter has 10x hand lenses and dissecting microscopes that we can use to look at small plant parts or bring your own lens. Also bring any of the following reference books that you have:

  • The Jepson Manual, 2nd Edition, Willis Linn Jepson, available in hardcover or digital version
  • Plants of the San Francisco Bay Region: Mendocino to Monterey, Third Edition, Linda H. Beidleman and Eugene N. Kozloff
  • Pacific States Wildflowers, Theodare F. Niehaus and Charles L. Rippe
  • A Sierra Nevada Flora, Norman F. Weeden
  • Spring Wildflowers of the San Francisco Bay Region and Flora of the Mount Hamilton Range, Helen K. Sharsmith
  • Wildflowers of the West, Mabel Crittenden and Dorothy Telfer
  • Plant Identification Terminology, An Illustrated Glossary, by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris, 2nd Edition

Native Plant ID meets the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Peninsula Conservation Center, 3921 E Bayshore Rd, Palo Alto. Join other native plant enthusiasts in a fun and educational atmosphere, as we hone our skills at plant identification (aka “keying”).  For details, contact Janet Hoffmann at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Resources

Dee Himes (former CNPS SCV board member, Field Trip Chair, chapter Treasurer, “Weed Warrior” at Edgewood County Park and Preserve and Adjunct Instructor of horticulture at Foothill College, in their Environmental Horticulture and Design program, which she also graduated from with an A.S. in 2006) recorded two online classes that go over the basics of Plant Morphology and the basics of Plant Taxonomy. They cover the basic principles of morphology, which is the study of the form, external structure and development of plants; and the basic principles of taxonomy, which is to learn and look at different plant families. The classes are a good resource for learning the terminology of plant identification.

Additional online resources:


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