Plant Hunting

Go outside and take a look at all the different types of plant you can spot.

Plant Hunting

Plant blindness is the name given to the phenomenon of not seeing or noticing the plants that exist in your own environment.

Do you pay attention to the trees, the grasses in the park, the moss at the foot of a tree, or creeping vines on fences, walls and buildings?

The Plant Kingdom is huge - there are around 391,000 different species of plants in the world and we need plants to survive. Plants feed us; they are used in our medicine, clothing, furniture and in cosmetics. They provide oxygen for us to breathe.

Go outside and take a look at all the different types of plant you can spot. This guide will help you classify them.

Things you might need:

Notepad +/ camera
Soft bag
Magnifying glass

Activity details:

Age: All
Difficulty: Easy
Preparation time: 0 minutes
Running time: 1 hour

Learning points:

The importance of plants
What plants live around your home
The names of different plant groups

If you focus on discovery, rather than what you know, a plant hunt is a really exciting adventure. Take lots of pictures, make lots of notes and then make use of a variety of tools to identify what you find.

Take a look at our page on Identifying Nature for some identification advice. For plants, we recommend an app called NatureGate. You can enter details like where you are, the shape of the leaves, the colour of the flowers and the app will work out which species the plant could be.

The following guide is a (relatively) simple way of classifying the broad group to which any plant belongs. Field guides are documents or apps that can help you quickly identify any species. We’ve listed our favourites here.

Classification of plants

Did you know?

Carl Linnaeus developed a system for classifying plants based on the flowers reproductive parts. This was a very simple way of grouping plants with similar features, but unfortunately it fails to group plants that are truly biologically related.

Since then, botanists have worked hard to create a new system for ordering the Plant kingdom. It turns out that this isn’t easy and the use of DNA analysis has revealed groupings that aren’t visually obvious.