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Identification of Garden Flowers

Updated November 21, 2016

Planting flowers in the spring is easy. Remembering what was planted when they come up the following spring is significantly harder. Knowing how to identify the flowers can help you maintain order in your garden.

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Stem Type

There are two basic stem types herbaceous and woody. Herbaceous stems are made of soft tissue and are common on plants that have a single stalk like an iris or pansy. Woody stems have a hard, brown surface, and are common on flowers with a shrublike base, including azaleas and forsythia.

Life Cycle

Flowers, like the rhododendron, that keeps their leaves during the winter months even if they stop blooming for a time, are considered evergreen. Flowers that go completely dormant, losing both leaves and flowers during the winter months are deciduous.

Leaf Type

Leaves, as they come off of the stem, are either single or compound. Individual leaf texture, colour, and shape are key pieces to flower identification.


Buds have distinctive protective coverings over the petals before they open. They may come off of the plant as single blooms or in clusters.


Petal and flower characteristics are perhaps the best identifying characteristic for flowers once they are open. Although colour can vary significantly between varieties, shape, reproductive organs, texture, and size are all useful traits for identification.

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About the Author

Misty Barton has been working in the fields of composition and journalism for over 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in English education and a Master of Arts in English and composition. She has written for various online publications including a blog that specifically addresses the concerns of work-at-home mothers.

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