Quiz: Can You Identify More Than 11 of These Common Plants?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Identify More Than 11 of These Common Plants?
By: Lauren Lubas
6 Min Quiz
Image: Nenov / Moment / Getty Images
About This Quiz
Everything is so alive in the summer. There are trees in full bloom and plants everywhere you look, even in the desert. If you love the great outdoors, or you are just way into gardening, you've probably had a chance to be able to identify a few of the plants you encounter here and there, but you don't consider yourself a botanist ... and that's perfectly fine.
You may think that plants and flowers are super pretty, and getting to know them and identify them can save you from certain tragedy (poison ivy everywhere is definitely considered a tragedy). No, you don't have to be a botanist to learn how to identify flora in the areas that you explore. You simply learn how to examine the shapes of leaves, flowers and buds that come with each unique species of plant.
If you love the outdoors, we want to test your plant identification skills. We'll start with some common plants found in the United States and around the world. You might be able to spot some of these from a mile away, and others might confuse you a little bit (nature is complex). Take this quiz to see if you can name at least 11 of these common plants — we'll be impressed if you can.
Pixabay by Fotomanie
They look like orchids but have a different name. What is it?
Iris setosa, or the woodland iris, usually blooms in the late spring. Its delicate petals and interesting shape look like a cross between a tiger lily and an orchid. They're delicate flowers, but they are lovely to look at.
Do you know the name of this common herb?
Basil is a versatile herb grown all around the world. This common plant can be dried to make spices, or it can be an excellent topper for Italian dishes when it's fresh. It comes with many uses and is a main ingredient in Caprese salad.
Pixabay by Peggychoucair
This gorgeous wildflower is native to Eurasia. Do you know what it's called?
You can also call this flower Adonis's flower, but most people know it as a red Morocco or soldiers-in-green. They come in a couple of different colors and typically grow in the wild, in case you're looking for them.
You may recognize these little red berries, but can you identify the plant that creates them?
Viburnum trilobum looks very much like poison berries. These plants are found all around the Midwest, and we are often told not to eat the berries, even though these bushes can grow up to 15 feet tall right in our line of sight.
Natalia Ganelin / Moment / Getty Images
Do you know what this hanging flower tree is called?
You've probably seen the images of the Japanese wisteria forest in Japan — it has gone viral after all. This is one of the most beautiful yet common plants known to man. It can grow nearly 30 feet high and is covered in beautiful small flowers.
Sandra Clegg / Moment / Getty Images
These wildflowers are spread throughout the United States. Do you know what they're called?
Coneflowers look very much like daisies, but they have a larger center that is spiky. Bees absolutely love them, and these flowers can thrive in nearly any environment including high heat and low moisture.
Can you name these low-maintenance plants?
Lobelia can grow up to three feet high without much help. It loves moisture, so as long as you live in a wet environment, these little guys can thrive and make some beautiful formations in your garden.
Wiki Commons by Peripitus
Do you know the name of this plant found in the Southwest?
White sage is also known as bee sage. It is an herb used in both culinary and medicinal environments. This plant is very fragrant, so you probably won't be able to miss it if you see it in the wild.
Pixabay by Couleur
This shrub is very flowery. Do you know what it's called?
Oakleaf hydrangea shrubs are very common on property borders. They are a beautiful way to tell your neighbors not to enter your yard or listen to your conversations. They're also lovely when they're dried and hung as decorations.
Pixabay by PurpleOwl
Do you know the name of these beautiful flowers?
These flowers are aptly named, as they spread very quickly through your garden, giving it a beautiful blanket of rich colors. However, they can suffocate other flowers, so make sure to plant and prune wisely.
Do you know the name of this herb, which is great in a dessert?
Mint is an excellent addition to nearly every type of dish. It gives added freshness to savory meals and can completely change the composition of a dessert. This versatile herb makes its way into most gardens.
Wiki Commons by Schnobby
Ferns are common in the United States. Do you know what kind of fern this is?
Maidenhair ferns can only grow in rich soils that collect a lot of moisture. They aren't often seen in desert or mountain landscapes because they require so much moisture to grow properly.
Wiki Commons by Andy Mabbett
Do you know the name of this plant with rich colors?
Coral bells can be found in nearly any garden because they are so full of color and life and aren't tricky to keep alive. These guys can grow in pretty much everything, including rock gardens.
Do you know this plant which often attracts hummingbirds?
The wild columbine likes the shade. Its delicate leaves are quickly fried in the sun's light, so they prefer to be in shady areas. They are distinctive due to their drooping nature, almost as if they're upside down.
Wiki Commons by SB_Johnny
This shrub is bright red. Do you know what it's called?
The red twig dogwood bush is normally found in colder climates, which is cool because in the snow, these bushes stand out by their bright red branches (or twigs). They aren't hard to spot, and they make a beautiful ornamental plant for your front yard.
Annie Otzen / Digital Vision / Getty Images
These bright yellow flowers are perfect for any garden. What are they commonly called?
The tickseed goes by a much cooler name in some areas, and that name is Sunshine Superman. They are bold yellow flowers that almost look like dandelions, only less weedy, of course.
Wiki Commons by David J. Stang
Can you name this plant which turns bright red in the autumn and winter?
Virginia sweetspire plants are very easy to grow, and they are a treat to look at. The dark crimson color that they turn in the winter is almost surreal and looks pretty much like you painted your plant.
Pixabay by LaLaJaye
You can find this weed anywhere east of the Mississippi. Do you know what it's called?
When it comes to creeping plants, you have to be careful as to how you plant and maintain them. These plants can grow very quickly, and they can suffocate the roots of other flowers and even your grass.
AlpamayoPhoto / E+ / Getty Images
It may look like a daisy, but it has a different name. Do you know it?
Black-eyed Susans can be found in the grassy plains and gardens across the United States. They are a wildflower that looks very much like a daisy, with yellow leaves and dark brown centers.
Do you know the name of this plant, which gives us clothing?
Cotton used to be incredibly expensive, because the small seeds needed to be picked out of it. However, after the cotton gin was invented, the price of cotton tanked because it was easier to produce it.
What is the name of this crop found throughout the American Midwest?
Corn is one of the most versatile crops that man grows. It can create food, sweeteners, fuel and even clothing. There is virtually no limit as to what corn is capable of, but we like it best grilled and covered with butter.
Moelyn Photos / Moment / Getty Images
This plant is often found in flower arrangements. Can you identify it?
Pussy willows are small twig-like plants that have tiny white buds on the end of them. This makes them the perfect accent to any vibrant and rich flower that you might want in a bouquet.
2ndLookGraphics / E+ / Getty Images
Birds and butterflies love this plant. What is it?
When it comes to scoping out elderberry bushes, you will probably notice them right away by their dark purple berry clusters. These bad boys are gorgeous to look at, and they attract some handsome beasts like butterflies and birds.
Pixabay by PollyDot
Many people grow these up a trellis. Do you know what they are?
Trumpet vines will cover a large area, and if they have enough room, they can reach 30 feet in a single season. They grow fast and like water. They can't keep themselves alive in a drought, so you might need to help them along a little.
This herb smells like pizza while it's growing. Do you know what it is?
Oregano is a common herb found in nearly everyone's spice cabinet. While it's not the most versatile herb someone might own, it's essential for almost every savory Italian dish that you make.
Wiki Commons by GFDL
Can you name this plant with healing properties?
Aloe plants can help people keep their skin moisturized throughout the year. Additionally, they're great to have around in case of burns or even sunburns, because the cooling effect can help heal your skin.
Pixabay by jcesar2015
Which plant can be found in farmers' fields?
Soy is another versatile crop commonly grown in the United States. It doesn't get as high as corn, so it's easier to drive along their fields as your line of sight goes much further on winding roads.
MmeEmil / E+ / Getty Images
When you're looking for something to freshen up your taco, you'd reach for which herb?
Cilantro can be found in many dishes, and you either love it or you hate it. The biggest problem with cilantro is you either get way too much or not enough. It's hard to find good balance with its flavor.
Cats love this plant. Can you name it?
When you plant catnip in your garden, you attract all of the cats in the neighborhood. If you like to get the cats a little loopy, simply plant this greenery and grab a seat. You're sure to have a blast.
Do you know this plant, which makes delicious sauces and dips?
When you think of dill, you probably think of pickles. However, dill is a versatile herb with a very distinct, mellow flavor. It can give you the best sauces (for poultry, usually) and the best dips for veggies.
Pixabay by Kaz
What's the name of this plant which can be found in teas and candles at the same time?
Lavender has a distinct smell that is soothing and calming. That's why you can find lavender extract (or essential oil) in everything that has to do with taking a relaxing bath.
This plant is a great herb and can grow very big. What is it?
Rosemary is an excellent aromatic herb that can be found in a lot of different homemade dishes. These plants grow very big if you allow them to, and (little known fact), they can actually attract spiders, so be careful.
Laszlo Podor / Moment / Getty Images
When it comes to making soup, you absolutely need this plant. What is it?
We should have specified: if you want to make GOOD soup, you're going to need some thyme ... and some time. Thyme has a nice savory flavor that is best in slow cooking processes, such as making soup.
Image Source / Image Source / Getty Images
You can use nearly every part of this plant for cooking. What is it?
Fennel itself can be used in soups, stews and salads. The leaves make a great herb, and the seeds make an intense flavor in Italian foods. Fennel may seem like an upscale food, but it is actually very easy to work with.
Pixabay by hansbenn
We eat the roots of this plant. Do you know what it is?
Carrots are sweet and earthy at the same time. Their flavor changes based on how you cook them and what you cook them with. That makes them one heck of a versatile food in your kitchen.
Pixabay by MabelAmber
Can you name this flower that bees love?
The scarlet beebalm is a large flower that grows all over North America. It has very sharp looking petals and a large center that bees love to collect pollen from. These huge wildflowers are very popular in colder states.
This bush is poisonous but beautiful. What is it?
Oleander is typically only poisonous if you ingest it. Many people were accidentally poisoned when they believed that they could make tea out of the toxic petals and leaves of this bush. It's very dangerous; we do not recommend ingesting it.
Wiki Commons by David J. Stang
What's the name of this leafy plant?
Leafy plants have a lot of value. They can break up the bright colored plants in your garden, and they are great to have around when you're making a bouquet. These plants are robust and versatile and can hold up in various climates.
Kimberly Whitaker / Moment / Getty Images
Do you know the name of this flower?
There are many different kinds of daphnes all around the world. They are most common in Asia, Europe and North Africa. Their flowers have a beautiful scent and even more beautiful berries.
Pixabay by nathanbporter
What is the name of this plant which lives year round?
Evergreen plants are always alive. Native to the Northeast portion of the United States, they have beautiful white flowers that eventually become red berries. The berries come out in the wintertime.
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