Identification of Common Wetland Plants

Knowledge of common wetland plants is a basic requirement of many of the duties involved in the wetland profession and associated fields. Wetland plant identification is an intricate part of wetland delineations and many wetland assessment methods are dependent on the ability of the users to identify common wetland plants.

This course is focused on identification of common Midwestern wetland plants. Quantitative studies from hundreds of Ohio wetlands have been used to scientifically determine the most common species. While many more plants will be covered, there is a special emphasis given to the 25 to 50 most common plants occurring in wetlands and participants should be competent in identifying them upon course completion.

Day One: Classroom Instruction

Instruction will include plant taxonomy and nomenclature along with an overview of how plants are used to determine wetland quality. The use of taxonomic keys and field guides including Gleason and Cronquist, Chadde and Newcomb's will be clarified in the classroom so that they can be of value in the field. The proper method to collect, mount, label, press, and store plant samples will also be explained and practiced. The day will end with a visit to a wetland field site to begin to learn the field methods and identification of wetland plant species.

Days Two and Three: Field Training

This part of the course will be comprised of field visits to diverse Ohio wetlands. Participants will become acquainted with a variety of wetland plants while focusing on the most common species. The range of wetlands visited will give students exposure to emergent, shrub, and forest wetland plant communities, providing students with hands-on experience in recognizing the morphological characters used to identify wetland plants.


Participants will leave the course with the ability to readily identify and know the common and scientific names for the most often encountered wetland species. They will also have a good understanding of how to use field keys to aid in the identification of plants they do not recognize. Participants will receive a certificate documenting their participation in the course and their ability to identify common wetland plant taxa.

* This course is certified by the Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program.