Identification of Common Wetland Plants

Knowledge of common wetland plants is a basic requirement of many of the aspects 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 this skill. 

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.

Covid-19 Notification: Classroom instruction will be held via Zoom to ensure that we maintain safe social distancing.  Field portions will still take place; you will need to provide your own transportation to and from field sites.  You will also need to maintain appropriate social distancing and wear a face mask at all times during in-field training; MBI will provide masks if needed, and will also have hand sanitizer and hand washing stations available.

Day One: Classroom Instruction (morning) and Field Training (afternoon)

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 in Newcomb's Wildflower Guide and other guides will be demonstrated in the classroom so that they can be of value in the field.  The day will end with a visit to a wetland so that participants can begin to learn the field methods that facilitate the 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 learning to identify the most common species. The range of wetlands visited will give students exposure to emergent, shrub, and forest wetland plant communities and will provide students with hands-on experience in recognizing the morphological characteristics used to identify wetland plants.


Participants should leave the course with the ability to readily identify and know the common and scientific names for the most often-encountered plant species in wetlands. They should also have a good understanding of how to use field keys to aid in the identification of plants they cannot immediately recognize. Participants will receive a certificate documenting successful course completion.  

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