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Plant ID Guides

Commission staff prepares information to assist in identifying plants in the field, including wetland vegetation.

Picture of purple flowers

Plant Identification Guides

Plant identification guides can aid biologists with proper identification of plant species in the field, such as when determining whether an area meets the criteria for classification as a wetland, or in assessing the floristic quality of a site for natural areas protection.

The Commission has also prepared lists of plants suitable for landscaping in Southeastern Wisconsin. Landscaping guides and invasive species eradication information can be found on the Zoning & Ordinances page.


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Plant Identification Key
Additional Plant Identification Aids

Wetland Shrubs

For several years, the wetland shrub key below has been part of wetland plant identification training courses involving the Commission, where there was a need to provide a concise, workable aid to facilitate identifying shrubs typically found in wetlands. The key is intended to be used in the field, with the only tools being a hand lens and a metric ruler. The key is designed for use in Wisconsin and will not necessarily work elsewhere, even in neighboring states.

Wetland Shrub Key – Introduction

Guide to Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin (5/2014)

Key to the Common Wetland Shrubs and Woody Vines of Wisconsin (Native and Naturalized)

Supplement to Key to Common Wetland Shrubs of Wisconsin

Winter Key to the Wisconsin Alnus (Mill.) and Betula (L.)


Plant Species Range Maps

Since the introduction of the Natural Areas Plan in 1991, the Commission has been systematically cataloging known locations of all vascular plant species (i.e., ferns, conifers, and flowering plants) that occur within the seven-county Region. As a result of these efforts, up-to-date, detailed range maps have been prepared for each of these 1,813 species.

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