Plant Identification Course


How to Learn Plant Names

By ACS Distance Education on May 9, 2018 in Gardening & How to Learn Better | comments


The process of photographing, labeling and cataloging images will help build and strengthen your ability in plant identification. These days, high quality photographs can be taken without the need for sophisticated photographic equipment. A mobile phone can be adequate for most people. However, the value of a plant photograph is mostly in what you choose to include in the photograph. A knowledgeable plantsman will identify those features which differentiate a plant variety or cultivar from other plants and take photographs to show that differentiation. When taking photographs, the following are important considerations:

  • Pay attention to colour. A photograph should represent the true colours. Colour can be distorted by shading, brightness or other factors. It is usually best to have the light source behind you rather than in front. The time of day can also distort colours. 
  • Ensure the focus is crisp. If needs be, rest the camera or phone on something rigid such as a wall or rock when you photograph.
  • Take a deep breath before photographing and breathe out slowly and evenly as you push the button. If you hold your breath, you may be more likely to shake.
  • Be ruthless when choosing photographs to keep and catalogue. Take lots and discard the bad ones. 
  • If you are photographing garden centre or nursery plants, make notes of any plant labels or photograph the label; but always double-check the labeling with reference books or internet searches since they not correct 100% of the time.
We have a new course to be launched in June 2018 on plant identification on this web site.