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How Botanists Classify Plants

Botanists classify plants into groups that have similar characteristics.

Plants within a group are more closely related to other members of their own group than to members of another group, just as you are more closely related to your parents and brothers and sisters than you are to families of other students in your class.

Six major Plant groups are listed here. More about two other groups of organisms, Fungi and Red Algae, can be found by clicking here.

You can click on each group name to find the characteristics of the group and pictures of some of its members.

In each group there will be links that lead to information about some members of the group that are easily found in most of Utah.


Angiosperms (Flowering Plants)

  • Dicotyledons
  • Aceraceae (Maple Family)
  • Asteraceae (Daisy Family)
  • Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Angiosperms (Flowering Plants)

  • Monocotyledons
  • Liliaceae (Lily Family)
  • Orchidaceae (Orchid Family)
  • Poaceae (Grass Family)

Gymnosperms (Plants with unenclosed seeds)

  • Conifers
  • Pinaceae (Pine Family)
  • Cupressaceae (Juniper Family)

Gymnosperms (Plants with unenclosed seeds)

  • Ephedra Group
  • Ephedraceae (Mormon Tea Family)


  • Equisetaceae (Horsetail Family)



  • Mosses
  • Liverworts

Green Algae

turkey tail fungusSpecies: Trametes versicolor

Common Name: Turkey Tail

Family: Coriolaceae

Genus: Trametes

Description: The fans we see are actually the fruiting part of the fungus. They produce spores that will spread to grow into new Turkey Tails. The surface is silky or velvety with brown, reddish brown, bluish, blackish or yellow bands. The underside has pores and is white to yellowish.

Distribution: Widespread, common

Habitat: Grows on decaying wood (hardwoods and sometimes conifers) in damp places and oak forests. Found in summer and fall.


Ecology and Conservation:

Other Names: Polyporus versicolor, Coriolus versicolor