Keyed out Plants

Hi everyone,

I spent the weekend out of range of wifi and cell service, but I’ve got the day off to catch up today. I am really enjoying learning a new vocabulary.

I used both the Cody and Hulten keys for keying out the violets. The second violet specimen was easy enough with the Cody key, but I had to use the Hulten to get the 1st. The Cody key used the roots, which weren’t present in the specimen. The Hulten key also referred more to descriptions of the flowers.

My conclusion is the 1st specimen is V. epipsila subsp. repens and the 2nd violet is V. renifolia var. brainerdii.

Then, for the spruce specimens, the 1st is P. glauca (white spruce) and the 2nd is P. mariana (black spruce, with hairy branchlets).

I tried to make my key in google docs, but the formatting with tabs & letters was working how I wanted it to. Trying to decide which characteristics to include was challenging. Here is what I came up with, which is very simplified. I feel like I should go into more detail about the flowers because they were so unique and different from each other. I think starting with larger categories makes the most sense, so I chose colors. (I know I am posting late, but I haven’t read the email conclusion of the assignment yet.)

A. Plants with needles
          B. Branchlets glabrous………………………….Bin 1
          B’. Branchlets pubescent

A’. Plants with leaves
          C. Unisexual inflorescence (catkins)……..Bin 4
          C’. Bisexual inflorescence
                        D. Purple flowers……………………..Bin 3
                        D’. White flowers………………………Bin 2


  1. Hello Sunshine,

    You make this look so easy – lol. It seems most of us, including me, made this much more difficult than necessary. I think the lesson learned for me is to “keep it simple.” However, working more with this terminology was good practice.

    It’s logical to start from the largest category and work down to the details. Flower color is usually an easy place to find common ground. I think it’s best to stick with the features that are prominent and have easy-to-see the details. I tend to focus on leaf descriptions more than any other parts because they’re visible most of the time and I understand more of the terminology for leaves 🙂

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