FALL, 2002


Plant and Fungi Key For Biology Courtyard
Prepared by Wil Franklin


1.  Organism multicellular, achlorophyllus (not containing chlorophyll and thus not green), heterotrophic (deriving energy from sources other than self), and containing chitin in cell walls.


 2.  Organism producing spores from specialized cells called, basidia (exosporous).  Organism typically fleshy, growing terrestrially or on wood.  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BASIDIOMYCOTA (Mushrooms & Bracken Fungi).


2’.  Organism producing spores from specialized cells called asci (endosporous).  Organism typically hard, black, carboniferous, not fleshy, (if fleshy, having no pileus-cap), growing mostly on wood.-------------------------------------------------------------------------  ASCOMYCOTA (Cup fungi & Morels).


1’. Organism containing chlorophyll (Green!) and autotrophic (deriving energy from internal processes within self.)



3.  Organism flat, thin, clasping tightly to substrate, and orangish green, grayish green or brownish green.  Organism composed of algae and fungi in a symbiotic relationship. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ LICHEN.


3’. Organism not flat and thin, if so, not composed of algae and fungi in a symbiotic relationship.


4.  Organism not containing vascular cells or tissue.  Organism small, with no true leaves, seeds and fruits. ------------------------------- BRYOPHYTA (Mosses).


4’. Organism having true vascular cells and tissue.  Adult organism larger, with true leaves and/or seeds and/or fruit.


5.  Leaves of organism typically highly divided (pinnate) and lacey. Organism’s reproduces by spores, not by seeds. ------ PTEROPHYTA (Ferns).


5’. Leaves of organism typically not highly divided, usually simple, entire or only slightly divided.  Organism’s reproduction containing seeds.


6.  Organism producing prolific wood and leaves, needle or scale like.  Organism large shrub or tree and reproduction produces naked seeds (no fruit around them), not derived from a flower. ---------------------------------------CONIFEROPHYTA (Gymnosperms/conifers).


6’. Organism may or may not produce wood and leaves are typically flat and fan like (not needle or scale-like).  Reproductive process produces seeds within fruit derived from flowers.-------------------------------------------------------------- ANTHOPYHTA (Flowering Plants).


7.  Seed contain one cotyledon.  Veins in leaves are parallel.----------------------------------------MONOCOTS (Grasses, Orchids, Lilies).


7’. Seed contains two cotyledons.  Vein in leaves are branched. --------------------------------DICOTS (Roses, Peas, Mustards, Oaks etc.)


Links to Plants and Fungi Images on the Web:

University of California, Berkely: Plant Photo Gallery

California State University, Stanislaus: Botanical Image Database

Plant Anatomy Image List

Virtual Cell

University of California, Berkely: Fungi Photo Gallery

UW-Madison Fungal Images


Links to Plant Identification Books:

Weeds of the Northeast by Richard H. Uva et al.

Plants of Pennsylvania by Ann Fowler Rhoads et al.