The Vegetative Key to the British Flora

John Poland & Eric Clement

This guide sets out to do the near-impossible: a key for identifying native plants from their vegetative characteristics, not the flowers or fruit.

A problem facing most people interested in our native plants is the identification of material with no, or minimal, fruiting or flowering characteristics. This book sets out to help the enthusiast identify all native plants and even some alien species on vegetative characteristics alone.

This is a very useful tool, although like any key it helps to know a fair bit about plant morphology beforehand. The steps are easy to follow, with a well explained glossary, and with the exceptional colour plates identification shouldn’t be too taxing. It has been designed to identify the mystery plant in the turn of three pages - or 60 seconds or less if you really know your stuff.


As this key differs from conventional keys and guides it may take a few attempts to get familiar with keying things in, but the more you use it the easier it gets.

Strongly recommended for the keen amateur and professional.

Available from NHBS Environment Bookstore.

Chris Bisson, Eden Project Plant Records Manager, July 2009