Identifying plants is a crucial skill for camping, as it can help us avoid poisonous plants, identify edible plants, learn about the local ecosystem, and use plants for medicinal purposes. While exploring, we come across different plants that are unfamiliar. Identifying these plants can only be challenging if we lack the proper knowledge or tools.

Tips for Identifying Plants
When trying to identify a plant in nature, there are several things you can do.

Observe the Plant's Features
Examine the leaves, flowers, stem, and other unique parts of the plant. Pay attention to color, shape, and texture; these characteristics are crucial in identifying a plant.​
Use a Field Guide
A field guide is a book that provides detailed information on plant species, including photographs or illustrations and descriptions of the plant's features, habitat, and range. Some popular field guides in North America include the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers and the Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America.​
Consider the Habitat
Different plants grow in different habitats. Observing the environment where the plant is found can help narrow down the possibilities. For example, a plant near a river may be a water-loving species, while a plant growing in a desert environment may be drought-resistant.​
Use Technology
Several apps are available to help identify plants using your smartphone. Apps like "PlantSnap," "iNaturalist," and "PictureThis" use image recognition software to identify plants based on photographs.​
Seek Help From Local Experts
If you still have difficulty identifying a plant, consider asking for assistance from a local expert. Park rangers, botanists, and naturalists are often available to answer questions and provide guidance on plant identification.​

Field Guides for Plant Identification
Field guides are an essential tool for identifying plants while camping. Here are some of the best field guides available:
Apps for Plant Identification
Several apps can help identify plants using your smartphone's camera. Here are some of the popular options:
  • PlantSnap: Uses image recognition software to identify over 600,000 plants.
  • iNaturalist: Allows users to upload photos of plants and receive help with identification from a community of experts.
  • PictureThis: Uses artificial intelligence to identify plants and provides information on care and maintenance.
Identifying plants while camping can be a fun and educational experience. By using field guides, observing the plant's features, considering the habitat, using technology, and seeking help from local experts, you can become an expert at plant identification in no time. So, the next time you go camping, take some time to explore the diverse world of plants and see what you can discover!

Do you use a guidebook or app to identify plants during your camping trips? Which are your favorites?