How to Use Joy's Flower Finder


This webpage uses color and number of petals as the main guides to finding photos to help you identify a flower.  Once a possible candidate is found, there will be additional details in text -- such as overall shape of the flower, its petals, and shape of the leaf -- to help you discern between similar looking species.

If the plant doesn't seem to have any flowers, or the flowers are not yet or no longer present, there is still hope in identifying it.  Click on the "No Flowers" category on the main Find Flower webpage to approach its identification in another way.


What color is the flower ?

Two different people may look at the same color and give it a different name. 

This flower finder helps to eliminate this stumbling block in several ways:
  1. It provides 3 examples for each color name.  Clicking on any one of the 3 examples takes you to the same next step.  For example:

    Blue Blue example Blue example Blue example

  2. For flowers that are in-between two major color categories, that flower will often be included in both color categories.

  3. For flowers that have more than one color on their petals, or whose color fades from one color to another, that flower will often be included in both color categories.

You can click on either the color name text or on any of the 3 images showing the color examples.  They all take you to the same next step.

As for the names given to the colors, this flower finder lists the primary colors and adds a few common special cases to help speed up your search:

Adding the above special cases helps to reduce the size of the list of flowers in an otherwise larger list.

Some flowers have a colorful center that is very different from the color of the petals.  For example, a daisy has white petals with a yellow center.  The color that you select should be for the color of the flower's petals -- or sepals when it has no petals -- and not of the color of the blossom's center.


How many petals does the flower have ?

Some flowers don't have petals and what appears to be petals are actually sepals.  Some flowers have petals, but also have colorful sepals that look a lot like petals.  Rather than forcing the non-professional user to learn such intimate details about flower biology, this flower finder (for the most part) lets the user count any petal-like part as if it were a petal.  Technically, the petals and sepals make up the outer parts of a flower and are called "tepals".

For example, in the following case, the 3 actual petals and the 3 colorful sepals are all counted, giving a total of 6 "petals" (tepals):

3 actual petals + 3 sepals 1 petal example = 6 "petals".

It is only assumed that the reader knows the difference between a petal and a stamen (i.e. those whisker-like things often found in the center) and can count just the colorful petal-like parts that are not green or brown.  If the flower itself is green or brown, then the reader will just have it figure it out.

Nevertheless, some flowers are so weirdly shaped that it's hard to tell if a bump or wave on a petal is a separate petal, or just a lobe of that petal.

For example:

1-A 1-B 1-C 1-D
1 petal example 1 petal example 1 petal example 1 petal example
1-E 1-F 1-G 1-H
1 petal example 1 petal example 1 petal example 1 petal example

This flower finder will lump all of the above and similar cases together, calling them a single petal.  These blossoms are usually small and difficult to observe closely, and even if a closer inspection might determine that separate petals or colorful sepals could theoretically be pealed apart, that fact doesn't help a user who is looking at their own photographs trying to figure out how many petals there are.  1-G and 1-H are particularly difficult because each petal has lobes that one might want to count as a petal until one realizes that they are all connected and are part of the single petal.

So the general rule when using this flower finder is:  "If it's a complex petal shape, and you're trying to determine if it has 1, 2, 3 or more petals, then count it as just 1 petal."

The other end of the petal counting spectrum is also more difficult. 

For example:

2-A 2-B 2-C 2-D
Many petal example Many petal example Many petal example Many petal example
2-E 2-F 2-G 2-H
Many petal example Many petal example Many petal example Many petal example

If there are more than 10 petals, don't bother to count them and just call it "Many".  This is especially useful when the petals are tiny hair-like rays as in the Fleabane in example 2-A or the seed stalks of a Plantain in example 2-G. 

Also, if the flowers are tiny, but there are many of them packed into a small space, lump these together into the "Many" petals category as in the Heal All example of 2-H.


Variable Number of Petals

Finally, there is the issue of cases where some blossoms of a wildflower often have, say, 5 petals, while other blossoms of the same species often have 6, 7, 8, 9, or some other number of petals.  What then ?

This flower finder deals with these special cases by having a separate count "box" just for that species, as in the following example for Rue Anemone:

6-7-8
6-7-8 petal example


What is the flower shape ?

Once you have narrowed down the set of flowers to those with a particular color and number of petals, they are then grouped by petal shape or overall blossom shape.  Click on the shape name or the shape image that most closely resembles the shape of the flower you are trying to find.

Stringy Tailed Star Fan Orchid
Stringy Shape example Tailed Shape example Star Shape example Fan Shape example Orchid Shape example

For the purpose of this flower finder, flower shapes are grouped into the following descriptive categories:


Shape of the Petals

The images below provide examples for the terms used in this flower finder whenever it describes the shape of a petal.


Shape of the Leaf

The images below provide examples for the terms used in this flower finder whenever it describes the shape of a leaf.



About Joy's Flower, Tree, and Plant Finders

Joy's Plant Finder Glossary

Plant Identification Reference Books Used