Workshop 1: Names   Workshop 2: Definitions and plant parts  Workshop 3: Keys  
Workshop 5: Weber Arnica key   Workshop 6: Keys and species

Arnica cordifolia
Arnica cordifolia    arco9
Following (on this page and the next) is a look at how three keys start Asteraceae and how two of them, Komarek's and Weber's arrive at the identification of Arnica cordifolia.
Wingate and Yeatts' Alpine Flower Finder


Komarek's Flora of the San Juans


Arnica cordifoliaArnica cordifolia
Arnica cordifolia (above) and 
Machaeranthera bigelovii
(below)

1) Ambiguity of terms could lead us astray: "fine hairs", "nodding", "many leaves",  "long pointed tips",  "clumps" vs. "whole colonies".
  How fine is "fine", how many is "many".  Learn from a good teacher on field trips and then pass on the knowledge.

2) Keying backwards from a known plant is a good way
to learn how to key.  For instance, find Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) in Weber and then work backwards in his key.

3) If you are using books other than Weber, after you have keyed and feel you have identified your mystery plant, check your result in Weber.  He may present you with several more species to choose from.  His is the only complete flora of Colorado.

4) Use plant list to help you narrow down the number of species.

5) Use process of elimination when keying is unsuccessful.

Workshop 1: Names   Workshop 2: Definitions and plant parts  Workshop 3: Keys  
Workshop 5: Weber Arnica key   Workshop 6: Keys and species