Walking through our woods to practice tree & shrub bud ID several winters ago, I became curious about the dried up plants I spotted. Laziness was my real motivator. If I knew which plants were the “bad chaps”, I could bag and destroy their seed heads in winter and avoid the bigger job of dealing with an explosion of nasty germinating weeds come spring and summer. Thus began my continuing journey of winter plant identification.
Not many really good books on winter plant ID seemed to be available when I was in the market. The books I came across included a limited number of species from our area in the Midwest. Nonetheless, I purchased two different books with hand sketches to get me started.
As a visual learner, I decided to take my own photos and then document the genus and species of each new native and non-native plant I was able to identify. Being a plant sleuth is a great way to learn species ID.