It seems I am not the only one struggling with this assignment. I understand the concept of dichotomous keys but I find it very difficult to decipher certain plant characteristics through a photograph. For instance, even on the exercise with the two different species of violets, I keyed out different species with the Hulten and Cody keys. I had no reference point for whether the rootstock of the violet was ‘slender’ or ‘stout’. I was also confused by the ‘bearded’ part. It seemed that the petals were slightly hairy and I would assume that would mean it had a ‘plant beard’ but apparently not. I found the Cody key much more straightforward than the Hulten.
Classmate, Rachel, and I decided to try and work on formulating the dichotomous keys together because we were both pretty confused. This is what I had in my notes and I’m about 90% positive I didn’t get the species correct. However, I will say that this exercise gave me a LOT better idea about what dichotomous keys are and that there are many different paths you can take when making your own. I could appreciate that Cody and Hulten took different perspectives in identifying the plants. I found that Cody’s was a bit simpler.