Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP)

The Plant Identification Guide

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This guide is adapted from "A Citizen's Guide to Biological Assessment of Wetlands".   To download the complete document please visit the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website.  (Click here for link).
This plant genus identification guide covers the most common wetland genera of plants in central Minnesota.  There 93 genera or major plant groups included in the guide. These genera are the most common aquatic plants found in depressional marsh type wetlands in the upper Midwest.  In this guide, all the plants have been broken down into small groups of similar-appearing plants.
Use the identification guide to help identify plants you expect to encounter in wetlands.
This guide is set up as a key. Work through the key to learn each group of plants.

  1. Plants lacking recognizable leaves and stems, having a fibrous or amorphous leathery structure, or if submerged, with regular whorled branches.  NONVASCULAR PLANTS (Mosses and Muskgrasses)

-2.  Plants without flowers, reproducing via spores. Leaves emerging from the ground with deeply cut leaf edges or with a distinct round grooved stem with (occaisionally without) whorls of scale-like leaves. FERNS AND HORSETAILS

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3.  Plants with flowers, stems, and leaves. May be herbaceous or woody. 

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