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California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter

Keying With Natives

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Keying With Natives is a Chapter group that promotes plant identification training using botanical keys. Join us as we learn and practice methods of identifying the native plants of our region. From beginners to more advanced, there are challenges for all. Bring in plant samples if you have some or just come and work with the materials provided. We primarily use Jepson Manual, 2nd edition, so please bring yours if you have a copy. Other plant books are welcome as well, and we often practice keying with them. Botanical microscopes are available.

Keying With Natives Lectures

Two online classes go over the basics of Plant Morphology and the basics of Plant Taxonomy. They cover the basic principles of morphology, which is the study of the form, external structure and development of plants; and the basic principles of taxonomy, which is to learn and look at different plant families. The classes form a great crash course for beginners who are enthusiastic about learning how and why some plants are named ̶ and for others they’ll form a refresher. By knowing the basic morphological characteristics of plants, a plant’s name will become obvious. Once the plant has been identified, it can be placed within categories, a plant family, a classification system that is part of plant taxonomy.

Dee recommends these resources for this class: Plant Identification Terminology, An Illustrated Glossary, by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris, 2nd Edition;; cuttings of your favorite native plants from your garden as samples; and a hand lens.

Dee Himes is a CNPS SCV board member, Field Trip Chair, and former chapter Treasurer (2012-2014) and Field Chair (2014-2018). She is also an active “Weed Warrior” at Edgewood County Park and Preserve. She is now an Adjunct Instructor of horticulture at Foothill College, in their Environmental Horticulture and Design program, which she also graduated from with an A.S. in 2006. Dee is passionate about sharing her landscape and horticultural experiences and expertise in caring for California native gardens that includes sustainable gardening practices.

When health regulations allow, Keying With Natives meets the last Friday of the month at the Peninsula Conservation Center, 3921 E Bayshore Rd, Palo Alto. Join other native plant enthusiasts in a fun and educational atmosphere, as we hone our skills at plant identification (aka “keying”). For details, contact Joe Cernac atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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