Parks & Open Spaces


Plant Identification Guides

The following links provide useful information to help identify plants in the field, including wetland vegetation.


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.

SEWRPC has also prepared lists of plants suitable for landscaping in Southeastern Wisconsin. Click here for Landscaping Guides and Invasive Species Eradication information.

Plant Identification Key:

Key to Vascular Plant Species, Native and Naturalized, of the Southeastern Wisconsin Region - February 2012

Additional plant identification aids:

University of Michigan Flora Online -- specific to Michigan, but well-built keys that are helpful for identifying most species that occur in Southeast Wisconsin, often with photographs and descriptions of habitat.

Online Virtual Flora of Wisconsin -- Maps of Wisconsin plant collections, often with images and brief descriptions

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Herbarium -- Keys for trees, shrubs, and ferns etc. native to Wisconsin


Plant Species Range Maps


Since the introduction of the Natural Areas Plan in 1991, SEWRPC 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 all of these 1,813 species. more


Wetland Shrubs


For several years, the wetland shrub key below (or earlier versions thereof) has been part of wetland plant identification training courses involving SEWRPC, where there was a need to provide a concise, workable aid to facilitate identifying shrubs typically found in wetlands. It is intended to be used in the field, with the only tools being a hand lens and a metric ruler. It also should be pointed out that this key is designed for use in the State of Wisconsin; it will not necessarily work elsewhere, even in neighboring states.

Wetland Shrub Key – Introduction

Guide to Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin - May 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.)


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Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission

W239 N1812 Rockwood Drive
P.O. Box 1607
Waukesha, WI 53187-1607

Monday - Thursday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Global Water Center
247 Freshwater Way
Milwaukee, WI 53204

By Appointment


Phone: (262) 547-6721


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