Making and Using a Dichotomous Key for Plants

One of the biggest hurdles that someone who is starting out in gardening must overcome is learning about the different plants and how to distinguish them from one another. This is not an easy thing to learn especially to someone who did not grow up around plants or in a location where knowledge about it is not a common thing. That should not discourage you however. Even if you are a city born person who has lived in an urban setting all your life, you can still master the art of knowing all about plants. While mastering that can take time, there are tools that you can use in order to make things a lot easier for you.

A dichotomous key is a tool that can be used in identifying different types of plants. You can use a dichotomous key for plants in order to properly classify them. It is like a map that contains all of the characteristics of plants looking for those characteristics you can properly characterize some plants. The word dichotomous means to divide into two and that describes the way that you can use the key in identifying a plant. In using this key you have to come up with two descriptions that can allow you to divide a collection into two parts. The characteristics that can be used vary a lot. They can be in reference to the size, shape and colour of the plant or parts of it. Now you can continue dividing a group of plants until only one remains for that group.

In order for you to learn how to use a dichotomous key for plants, here are some simple steps that you can follow:

1. Start by gathering the plants that you want to identify. You can also use photographs if they cover the whole plant and they show excellent images.

2. Now you need to decide on how to divide the group of plants that you have into. Once you have decided on how to divide them you need to observe the plants carefully so you can decide to which group each of them belongs to. Now you need to record all of that especially the characteristics that differentiates them.

3. Once you have divided the plants into two groups, you have to work on the first half and repeat the process with it. This time you need to work on the other features of the plants and carefully observing what sets them apart.

4. You can repeat the process until a group is down to one plant. You should have a list of characteristics that accurately describes it, making it easily identifiable. As you can see using this tool means depending a lot on your powers of observation.
A Dichotomous Key can be a very useful tool for you and if you use it in the right way you should be able to identify a great number of plants with. That is just one of the aids that you can use to expand your knowledge of gardening.