It is good to know the identity of weeds, and plants, if we are going to succeed at gardening, or weeding. There are published ‘keys to plant identification’ that I value, own, and highly recommend to you.
The cheapest one I have bought is ‘The Tree Book’, published by Arbor Day Foundation, Nebraska City, Ne., 68410, or arborday.org. It includes pictures of mature trees, planting, care, and pruning instructions, and prices (cheaper if you are a member $15/year). The books are cheapest in volume – I bought one for each member of a wood turning club, and they were enthusiastic!
The most expensive one I own cost $7.00, and is “Weeds of the North Central United States,” bulletin772, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Agricultural Experiment Station. Public libraries may have weed books available, County Extension offices have weed publications, so much weed information is available, and I consider it beneficial to know whether you are treating a plant nicely or killing it, so identity is just as important as identity theft is dangerous.
A key is a device for identifying plants. It is an outline consisting of alternative (2) Statements; you choose the one that best identifies the plant you are identifying. After you choose the one that applies to the plant you are trying to identify, you choose from the next two choices subordinate to the first, and so on, until you come to the name of the plant.
As an example, a short key to identify well-known legumes is given here. First, look at the two headings labeled “1”. If the plant to be identified has a rounded head of flowers, it will be found under the second 1, and you will ignore everything under the second “1”, since all the plants under that heading have flowers in slender spikes.
Next, you look at flowers which are white, and you choose the second “3”. Under the second 3 is a pair of “4’s,” and if your plant is seeming roots at the nodes, it is white clover. It looks more complicated than it is, but once available and used, I think you would find it very useful. I believe in weed control, from yanking them out by the roots, to “hoe, hoe, hoe,” and use of proper chemicals, CAREFULLY reading and following the instructions EVERY TIME USED! And I hope you protect your identity better than the identity of the people whose identity was stolen by the Indiana resident pictured above! . . . good gardening