Education about plants is the focus of this website. It is not a commercial site. Users will not encounter ads, requests to donate, or fee schedules. In general, we don't sell photos. Refer to the terms of use (link below) for more details.


This website is also not an inventory of all species in the covered plant families present in the New York - New England region. In the Composite family (Asteraceae) alone, there are more than 400 species in this region. About 190 species are currently covered here. The vast majority of the very common and somewhat common species in this region are included in this collection, as well as a few rarities. Nevertheless, the set of 190 covered species is representative of all species that have ever been known to grow here.

With regard to the violets, all species known to be present in the Northeast are at least mentioned here.  The number of violet species here is close to thirty.  I have not encountered several of the rarest violet species in this region, nor do I have images of them.  Visit the uncommon species page for basic facts about those species, and links to where you can find additional information.


This site has been created for amateur naturalists, aspiring plant scientists, and practitioners who need everyday assistance in identifying species. An illustrated glossary of technical terms, a step-by-step tutorial, traditional keys, interactive "visual" keys, and a voluntary quiz are provided to give the user a running start. See the three resources pages for these tools.

Descriptive details of native and naturalized plant species found in the New York - New England region are presented here in a somewhat easier-to-understand manner, along with quality diagnostic pictures.  Though we use many technical terms and concepts, this website has not been created for plant scientists who work in universities. They're the real experts, who already know all this material, and undoubtedly much more.


We all want to be able to attach names to plants, myself included. "Oh, guess what I found on my hike today?"  However, learning the names of lots of plant species is just the first step in understanding plants, and the habitats in which they are found. One next step would be the ability to understand why certain plants grow in abundance (or not) in certain habitats - open wetlands, dry upland forests, rich, floodplain woodlands, and so forth.  Another possible next step would be to learn about the evolutionary relationships between groups of species in a particular plant family. What are a species close relatives? That's when things really start getting interesting.

A large percentage of technical terms used here are just English words, albeit, used in a special way. Take the term "ascending". Ascending implies climbing or going upward. When an airplane takes off, it is basically ascending into the atmosphere. Similarly, when we say that a plant's branches are ascending, we mean that they are pointed upward, rather than outward (spreading) or downward (descending).

I urge you to use the keys that are available here. That will be the surest and quickest way to identify accurately a plant species of interest. The alternative is to browse through the website screens, one-by-one in the hopes of finding the right name. Browsing can be quite time consuming, and frankly, you won't learn very much.

Use of Copyrighted Materials

Hopefully, the materials presented here will be of assistance in your efforts to learn about and identify wild-growing plant species. However, please keep in mind that all of what is shown here, though readily accessible, is copyrighted material, and should be used respectfully. Please consult the Terms of Use document for details.

  Arieh Tal is a botanist and botanical photographer. He has had over thirty years field experience in photographing and learning about plants and their natural communities. He has taught many classes on plants, has conducted many workshops, and has led seemingly countless field trips for interested groups. Along the way he played an important role in helping The Native Plant Trust (formerly the New England Wild Flower Society) develop its award-winning interactive, on-line botanical website: Go Botany. He can be reached by email at "botpht0 (at) protonmail.com".  

Images & text copyright  Arieh Tal, 1990 to 2023.  All rights reserved.