How to identify a Variety? Plant

In my case I made an observation for Chamise “Adenostoma fasciculatum”
and then someone else ID it as Common Chamise “Adenostoma fasciculatum var. fasciculatum”

I wanna click agree, but i can’t unless I learn what makes these different.

Where would I go to learn what specific makes these two different?

I am assuming these happens on many other plants with varieties,

There isn’t a one-stop web resource for that, but you can google the subspecies name and look through the links. In this case, the first result was this: Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum ( It explained that A. fasciculatum var. fasciculatum is the common one, and the other two species are only found in specific areas.


If you look at the “About” section of the species page for Adenostoma fascicatum, you will see that the included Wikipedia article has a section called " Varieties".
When this information is present, this is a good first stop to know about the different varieties.
You can then double check this information by either finding another source by yourself, or by looking at works cited by the Wikipedia page.

Identification guides, dichotomous keys, field guides, and other reference materials are generally not published on iNaturalist.
You can find this information in books, scientific publications and on various websites, there is no single repository.
I like to start my searches in library catalogues or on Google scholar.

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@hungry-sarracenia, @natev
Sorry… am just trying to undersdtand…

So Adenostoma fasciculatum is like a parent. Which can have multiple varieties of it.
“Adenostoma fasciculatum var. fasciculatum” is a variety of “Adenostoma fasciculatum” meaning these two have something different about them. correct? kinda dumb having a variety with the same name as the species in my opinion. lol

So here I have the Chamise with Three Varieties listed… But FOUR Plants listed that look slighty diffrent from each other. Correct?

Adenostoma fasciculatum chamise
Adenostoma fasciculatum var. fasciculatum common chamise
Adenostoma fasciculatum var. obtusifolium San Diego chamise
Adenostoma fasciculatum var. prostratum prostate chamise

Think of the nominotypical subspecies (Adenostoma fasciculatum var. fasciculatum) as the “normal” version of the parent species while the other two are special versions. Subspecies are often named because of differences in one population that aren’t important enough to designate it as a separate species. When a subspecies is named for this population, everything else in that species falls into the nominotypic subspecies to designate that it is this species but NOT part of the newly named subspecies.


yes, Janel put it nicely. the rules of nomenclature also require there to be an infraspecific (subspecies, variety, or form) with the same name as the parent species, because there has to be some “version” of that species that’s most typical of how the species was originally described.
varieties or subspecies (or forms!) will get named as people discover some population or portion of that parent species that differs in some obvious way, while still fitting a given definition of being part of the species as a whole. perhaps all the varieties can interbreed, or all the subspecies diverged from each other very recently, or perhaps there’s no genetic or reproductive differences between two forms but they look very different.


You have 3 plants. The first includes all three varieties. So think of it as something you would use when you’re not sure which variety you have.


Got it, Thanks to you all for helping me understand. xoxo

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