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Aquatic Plant names are killing me

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  • Aquatic Plant names are killing me

    Hello All,

    I have just setup a new planted tank with lot of really helpful guidance from this forum & Diana Walstad's book.
    One of the problems now is that I have no idea whats the best way to begin identifying plants?
    Currently I can identify only one plant species in my tank (hornwort)!
    Please point me to some encyclopedia or some other useful resources.


  • #2
    It takes some time to learn latin names. I'm learning by reading around (books, magazines, the web).

    Pictorial galleries help a lot yet I haven't seen one that has all of the plants available.

    Unlike animals that tend to keep features somewhat stable, a single species of plant can change the way it looks (leaf morphology) in response to adaptation to environment.

    DNA analysis is used to correctly classify plant species. Another easier venue is by observing the flower produced; despite changes in leaf structure, flowers tend to be stable in their form and coloration.

    Helpful online resources: AquaticPlantCentral Plantfinder (scroll down and click "view all records"); PlantedTank provides "Plant Profile". I won't recommend you a book since none I have list most genus (let alone species and varieties) already available. I figure there's a lot yet to be discovered regarding aquatic plants.

    Posting a pic or two and asking for ID help has helped me a lot in learning about plant's names.

    Santo Domingo


    • #3
      No Easy Way... But Worthwhile...

      Hi Jatin,

      I do not think there is any easy way to learn the proper names of plants or critters, but if you are serious, it is worth the effort.

      I am with Pepetj, start with The Planted Tanks’ Plant Profiles and APC’s Plant Finder.

      Concentrate on plants you own or want to own and soon it becomes natural. Then someone comes along and reclassifies the plants… That however is another story.

      The University of Florida’s Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants can be helpful especially where they have videos this can help with pronunciation (don’t worry too much about pronunciation) and begin to give insights as to how to identify plants.

      Sites like NC State’s Plant Fact Sheet lead into other extensive lists. As you gain experience databases, such as the USDA’s Plant Topics become handy.

      It helps to learn a bit about the taxonomy.

      I know I am already well into old gasbag range, so I apologize… But I think I should mention your local Community college and extension office classes and presentations are wonderful resources.

      Mainly have fun, this is after all a hobby, not, well… er, golf.

      The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

      Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.
      • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
      • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
      • When in doubt "don't."