Identification for beginners

I normally go through the Unknowns and feel comfortable making a species level ID some of the time. I am at least getting down to the genus most of the time for wildflowers. And plus, if I’m wrong, I can learn from that, which is how I’m getting better at knowing what I’m looking at. I do leave the casual ones on because I have found that getting my casual observations IDd is very helpful, especially if they are native plants possibly from a seed mix. I am a seed/plant collector so knowing what I am looking at really helps me document exactly what I have. Sometimes I get seeds or plants from someone who doesn’t know exactly what the plant is, and of course those observations are casual.

I do end up getting a lot of notifications that I can’t keep up with when IDing like that, so I found the link where I can look at my maverick IDs and fix those every once in a while.

I was thinking that chicory would be a good one to get comfortable doing a confirming ID on since I don’t think that anything really looks like it in my area. I’ll have to look at the jewelweeds - so far I’ve only seen common jewelweeds and I didn’t know there were others or how to tell them apart. I am trying to get a sense of what species are distinctive from each other. I liked the ladybug example; if there only two types of ladybugs in an area and one has 7 spots and one has 4, then that will be easy to confirm at species level with pretty good accuracy.


Thank you

The Peppered Moth in its adult form is very distinguishable from other moths. If you want to challenge yourself, you can try to identify the subspecies. A general rule of thumb for this is to look at the location for the observation, i.e. a subspecies located in America will never be found in Europe, or vise versa. However, as many others will point out, location alone is insufficient reasoning for the identification of any organism. Learn the distinguishing features between them as you go on, including feeding habits and times of emergence.

As a side note, since I do not go into the field, caterpillars are more difficult to identify for the same species. Having more caterpillar identifiers is always helpful. I still have no idea how people identify species from the pupae stage cocoons.