PlantsFlowering Plants — Class Magnoliopsida
Philadelphia Fleabane
Erigeron philadelphicus
It is usually easy to determine whether a plant is a dicot or monocot based on the leaves and number of petals (if conspicuous), making it a convenient way of narrowing down the possibilities. Dicot leaves typically with veins that branch out towards the margins. Showy flowers often have 4 or 5 petals. Possibly many petals (or ray florets). There are many exceptions, especially with small, inconspicuous flowers.
On this page: Monocots, Largest eudicot families, Everything else, Tips for identification

Habit  Leaf arrangement  Leaf complextity  Stamens  Fruit 

Monocots

Pale Blue-eyed-grass
Monocots — Superorder Lilianae
A few shrubs, vines, and bamboo, but mostly herbs. Some are aquatic. Leaves simple, with exceptions (Arisaema dracontium). Leaves often narrow, with veins parallel to the margins. If the flowers are showy, there are probably 3 petals or 6 tepals. Includes grass-like plants and most of our aquatic plants.

Largest eudicot families

Wild Carrot
Carrot, Parsley & relatives — Family Apiaceae
Leaves alternate. Flowers in umbels. Petals 5, stamens 5.
Philadelphia Fleabane
Compound Flowers — Family Asteraceae
Herb or 1 shrub. Compound flowers.
Shepherd's Purse
Mustard Family — Family Brassicaceae
Ours with alternate leaves. Flowers yellow, white, sometimes lavender (Diplotaxis), or absent. Usually 6 stamens, with 4 long and 2 short (we have one species with 4 stamens).
Texas Bluebonnet
Legumes — Family Fabaceae
Tree, shrub, vine, or herb. Leaves alternate, compound. Sepals 5. Fruit a legume.
Henbit
Mint Family — Family Lamiaceae
Leaves opposite, simple. Stems square. Flowers bilaterally symmetrical.

Everything else

Arranged alphabetically by family.
Limestone Ruellia
Ruellias & relatives — Family Acanthaceae
Leaves opposite, simple. Sepals 5. Stamens 2 or 4.
No image available.
Devilqueen —  Phaulothamnus spinescens [1]
Shrub. Tepals 4. Stamens 12-14. Berries greenish white to gray. South Texas. Family Achatocarpaceae.
Seapurslane & Horsepurslane
Seapurslane & Horsepurslane — Family Aizoaceae
Succulent herb or small shrub. Leaves opposite or subopposite.
Amaranth Family — Family Amaranthaceae
Leaves simple. Stems red. Flowers small, tepals 0-5. Stamens 5. Fruit is an urticle. This family now includes Chenopodiaceae.
Wing-rib Sumac
Sumacs Family — Family Anacardiaceae
Tree, shrub, or vine. Leaves alternate, compound. Flowers white, cream, yellow, or green. 5 petals. 5 stamens. Fruit is a 1-seeded red or white drupe.
No image available.
Pawpaw — Genus Asimina
Tree or shrub. Family Annonaceae.
Antelope-horns
Slimpods, Milkweeds & relatives — Family Apocynaceae
Leaves alternate, opposite, or whorled. Corollas and calyces with 5 lobes. Stamens 5.
No image available.
Thurber's Stemsucker —  Pilostyles thurberi [1]
Root parasite lacking chlorophyll. Leaves reduced to bracts. No petals. Flowering May-Jul. Family Apodanthaceae.
Possumhaw
Holly — Genus Ilex
Small tree or shrub. Leaves alternate, simple. The fruit is a red or orange berry. Family Aquifoliaceae.
No image available.
Ginsing Family — Family Araliaceae
No image available.
Dutchman's Pipe — Genus Aristolochia
Family Aristolochiaceae.
No image available.
Jewelweed —  Impatiens capensis [1]
Stems translucent and watery. Leaves alternate, simple. Stamens 5. Fruit a capsule. Family Balsaminaceae.
No image available.
Madieravine — Genus Anredera
Climbing vine. Family Basellaceae.
No image available.
Turtleweed —  Batis maritima [1]
Small shrub. Leaves opposite. Family Bataceae.
Algeritas
Barberry Family — Family Berberidaceae
No image available.
Birch Family — Family Betulaceae
Tree or shrub. Leaves alternate, simple. Leaf margins sharply toothed. Male flowers in catkins. Fruit a winged samara or unwinged nutlet.
Common Trumpet-creeper
Catalpa Family — Family Bignoniaceae
Tree, shrub, or woody vine. Flowers large and showy with 2 or 4 stamens.
No image available.
Wright's Yellowshow —  Amoreuxia wrightii [1]
Small shrub. Leaves alternate, palmately lobed. Many stamens. Family Bixaceae.
Pasture Heliotrope
Borage Family — Family Boraginaceae
Leaves alternate. Flowers radially symmetrical, 5 lobes. Stamens 5. Fruit a nutlet or capsule. This family now includes Hydrophyllaceae.
No image available.
Watershield & Fanwort — Family Cabombaceae
Aquatic herbs. Leaves alternate, floating, peltate.
Lace Hedgehog Cactus
Cacti — Family Cactaceae
Succulent shrubs or small trees. Leaves absent or diminished.
Bluebells & relatives — Family Campanulaceae
Leaves alternate, simple. Stamens 5.
No image available.
Hemp Family — Family Cannabaceae
No image available.
Caper Family — Family Capparaceae
Coral Honeysuckle
Honeysuckles & relatives — Family Caprifoliaceae
Tree, shrub, or vine. Leaves opposite. Fruit is a drupe or berry.
Chickweed
Chickweeds & relatives — Family Caryophyllaceae
Leaves opposite, simple, entire. Petals split.
Wahoo
Bittersweet Family — Family Celastraceae
No image available.
Hornwort — Genus Ceratophyllum
Aquatic herbs without roots. Leaves whorled and forked into thread-like parts. Stamens 4-10. Family Ceratophyllaceae.
No image available.
Frostweed & Pinweed — Family Cistaceae
Petals 3 or 5, twisted. Sepals 3. Stamens 3-many. The fruit is a capsule.
No image available.
Coastal Sweetpepperbush —  Clethra alnifolia [1]
Shrub. Leaves alternate, simple. Flowering Jul-Aug. Fruit ripe Sep-Oct. Family Clethraceae.
No image available.
St. John's-wort — Family Clusiaceae
Texas Bindweed
Morning-glories & relatives — Family Convolvulaceae
Vines. Leaves alternate. Leaf margins entire. Flower petals united, sepals separate. Cuscuta is a leafless parasite. This family now includes Cuscutaceae.
Dogwood — Genus Cornus
Family Cornaceae.
Stonecrop Family — Family Crassulaceae
Leaves alternate, simple.
No image available.
Greasebush — Genus Glossopetalon
Shrub. Leaves alternate, simple, entire. Stamens 4-many. Family Crossosomataceae.
Cantelope
Squash & Melons — Family Cucurbitaceae
Vines with tendrils. Leaves alternate, simple. Flowers with 3 or 5 stamens.
No image available.
Titi — Genus Cyrilla
Small tree or tall shrub, often in thickets. Leaves alternate, simple. Flowers small, white. Petals 5, sepals 5, stamens 5. Family Cyrillaceae.
Pincushions
Teasel & Pincushions — Family Dipsacaceae
No image available.
Sundew — Genus Drosera
Leaves basal. Petals 5, sepals 5, stamens 5. Family Droseraceae.
Common Persimmon
Persimmon — Genus Diospyros
Tree or shrub. Family Ebenaceae.
No image available.
Oleaster — Genus Elaeagnus
Shrub or small tree. Leaves alternate. Family Elaeagnaceae.
No image available.
Waterwort & Bergia — Family Elatinaceae
Leaves opposite, simple, entire.
Texas Madrone
Heath Family — Family Ericaceae
Tree, shrub, or herb. Leaves alternate, simple. This family now includes Monotropaceae.
Snow-on-the-prairie
Spurge, Euphorbia & kin — Family Euphorbiaceae
Usually an herb. We have one invasive tree. Leaves simple. Petals usually absent or inconspicuous (showy in Cnidoscolus texanus). Stamens 1 to many.
Shumard's Oak
Beech Family — Family Fagaceae
Ocotillo
Ocotillo —  Fouquieria splendens [1]
Leaves technically alternate, but branched near base. Family Fouquieriaceae.
No image available.
Seaheath — Genus Frankenia
Shrub. Family Frankeniaceae.
No image available.
Silktassel — Genus Garrya
Tree or shrub. Family Garryaceae.
Prairie Rose Gentian
Gentian & Centaury — Family Gentianaceae
Leaves opposite, simple, hairless. Flowers sympetalous with 4-5 lobes.
Filaree
Geraniums & Filaree — Family Geraniaceae
Leaves alternate to almost opposite. Flowers radially symmetrical, 5 separate petals, 5 sepals, 10 fertile stamens.
No image available.
Gullfeed —  Scaevola plumieri [1]
Small shrub with succulent stems. Leaves alternate, simple. Petals 5. Stamens 5. Fruit is a drupe. Family Goodeniaceae.
No image available.
Currant — Genus Ribes
Woody shrub. Leaves alternate, usually palmately lobed. Sepals 5, petals 5, stamens 5. Fruit is a berry. Family Grossulariaceae.
No image available.
Watermilfoil & Mermaidweed — Family Haloragaceae
Habitat aquatic or wet. Leaves alternate or whorled, simple (but may be so deeply divided to appear compound).
Sweetgum
Witchhazel & Sweetgum — Family Hamamelidaceae
Trees. Leaves alternate, simple.
No image available.
Fendlerbush & Mock Orange — Family Hydrangeaceae
Shrub.
No image available.
Virginia Sweetspire —  Itea virginica [1]
Shrub. Leaves alternate. Flowers have 5 white petals, 5 stamens. Flowering Jun. Family Iteaceae.
Black Walnut
Pecans & Walnuts — Family Juglandaceae
Nut producing trees. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound. Male flowers in catkins. Flowering in Apr.
Trailing Ratany
Ratany — Genus Krameria
Family Krameriaceae.
No image available.
Laurel Family — Family Lauraceae
Small aromatic tree or shrub. Leaves alternate, simple, deciduous. Flowers yellowish, no petals, 6 sepals, either with 9 stamens and no pistil, or with a pistil and rudimentary stamens. Fruit is a small red or blue drupe.
No image available.
Bladderwort & Butterwort — Family Lentibulariaceae
Meadow Flax
Flax — Genus Linum
Leaves alternate, simple, entire, sessile. Flowers with 5 petals, 5 stamens. Family Linaceae.
No image available.
Stickleaf Family — Family Loasaceae
Carolina Jessamine
Hornpods & Pinkroots — Family Loganiaceae
Vine or herb. Leaves opposite, simple. Flowers with 5 lobes, sepals 5, stamens 5.
Lance-leaf Loosestrife
Loosestrife Family — Family Lythraceae
Leaves simple. Flowers usually with 4 or 6 petals, lavender/purple. Fruit is a capsule.
Southern Magnolia
Magnolia & Tuliptree — Family Magnoliaceae
Ours are trees. Leaves alternate, simple.
No image available.
Crapemyrtle Family — Family Malpighiaceae
Shrub or vine. Leaves opposite. Flowers have 5 sepals, 5 petals.
Winecup
Mallows & relatives — Family Malvaceae
Tree, shrub or herb. Leaves alternate, simple, often palmately veined. Flowers radially symmetrical. Stamens united at least basally into a tube that surrounds the ovary (perhaps not Corchorus and Tilia). This family now includes Sterculiaceae and Tiliaceae.
No image available.
Meadowbeauty — Genus Rhexia
Family Melastomataceae.
Chinaberry
Chinaberry — Genus Melia
Tree. Leaves alternate, bipinnately compound. Flowers lavender(/whitish). Petals 5, sepals 5. Flowering Apr-May. Fruit is an amber drupe. Family Meliaceae.
Carolina Snailseed
Moonseed Family — Family Menispermaceae
Yellow Floatingheart
Floatingheart — Genus Nymphoides
Habitat wet or aquatic. Stamens 5. Family Menyanthaceae.
No image available.
Carpetweed & Sweetjuice — Family Molluginaceae
Osage Orange
Mulberry Family — Family Moraceae
Tree or herb. Leaves alternate, simple.
No image available.
Bayberry — Genus Morella
Shrub. Leaves alternate, simple. Flowers in catkins. Family Myricaceae.
No image available.
American Lotus —  Nelumbo lutea [1]
Aquatic herb similar to a water-lily. Very many stamens. Family Nelumbonaceae.
Devil's Bouquet
Four-o'clocks & Spiderlings — Family Nyctaginaceae
Herbs. Leaves opposite, simple. Flowers tubular, petals absent, sepals 4-5.
Yellow Pond-lily
Waterlily & Pond-lily — Family Nymphaeaceae
Aquatic perennial herb. Leaves alternate, simple, entire. Many stamens.
Black Tupelo
Tupelo — Genus Nyssa
Tree. Leaves alternate, simple. Fruit a blue-black drupe. Family Nyssaceae.
Green Ash
Olive Family — Family Oleaceae
Tree or shrub. Leaves opposite. Flowers 4-lobed. Usually 2 or 4 stamens, with anthers usually touching. Fruit is a drupe, capsule, or samara.
Pink Evening-primrose
Evening-primrose Family — Family Onagraceae
Herb. Leaves simple. Usually 4 petals and 8 stamens, except Ludwigia peploides with 5 petals and 10 stamens.
Prairie Agalinis
Broomrape Family — Family Orobanchaceae
Parasitic plants that infest the roots of other plants. They lack chlorophyll are not green.
Creeping Ladies'-sorrel
Woodsorrel — Genus Oxalis
Herb. Leaves alternate, palmately compound (like shamrocks). Margins entire. Family Oxalidaceae.
Corn Poppy
Poppies — Family Papaveraceae
Leaves alternate. Fruit is a capsule. This family now includes Fumariaceae.
Maypop Passionflower
Passion Family — Family Passifloraceae
This family now includes Turneraceae.
No image available.
Princesstree — Genus Paulownia
Tree. Leaves opposite. Flowering Apr-May. Fruit an egg-shaped capsule. Family Paulowniaceae.
Devil's-claw
Unicorn-plant & Sesame — Family Pedaliaceae
No image available.
Lopseed Family — Family Phrymaceae
Leaves opposite. Stamens 4.
Pokeweed
Pokeweed & Pigeon-berry — Family Phytolaccaceae
Leaves alternate, simple. No petals, but has sepals.
No image available.
Man To Man —  Peperomia pellucida [1]
Leaves simple, entire. Stamens 2. Fruit a drupe. Family Piperaceae.
Tallow-weed
Plantain Family — Family Plantaginaceae
Leaves basal or opposite.
American Sycamore
American Sycamore — Genus Platanus
Leaves alternate, simple, lobed. Fruits are balls dangling from stems like ornaments. Family Platanaceae.
No image available.
Lavender & Doctorbush — Family Plumbaginaceae
Leaves alternate, simple. Flowers with 5 sepals, 5 petals, 5 stamens.
Standing-cypress
Phlox Family — Family Polemoniaceae
Leaves simple. Flowers with 5 lobes, 5 stamens.
No image available.
Polygala — Genus Polygala
Petals 3. Sepals 5, two of which are larger and similar to petals. Stamens 8 (with anthers). Family Polygalaceae.
Jumpseed
Knotweed Family — Family Polygonaceae
Vine or herb. Leaves alternate, simple, with a sheath around the base of each leaf petiole. Flowers small.
No image available.
Purslane & relatives — Family Portulacaceae
Leaves simple. Flowers with 5 petals.
Scarlet Pimpernel
Primrose Family — Family Primulaceae
Leaves simple, entire.
Ten-petal Anemone
Buttercups Family — Family Ranunculaceae
Herb or vine. Many stamens.
No image available.
Lineleaf Whitepuff —  Oligomeris linifolia [1]
Leaves alternate, simple. Flowers have 4 sepals and 2 whitish petals, 3 stamens. Family Resedaceae.
Carolina Buckthorn
Buckthorn Family — Family Rhamnaceae
Tree, shrub, or vine. Leaves alternate, simple.
Southern Dewberry
Rose Family — Family Rosaceae
Tree, shrub, or herb. Leaves alternate. Flowers with 5 petals and many stamens.
Prairie Bluets
Bedstraw, Bluets & relatives — Family Rubiaceae
Herb, or one shrub. Leaves opposite or whorled, simple. Stalks squarish. Usually 4 petals.
Prickly-ash
Citrus Family — Family Rutaceae
Small tree or shrub. Leaves alternate, compound. Thamnosma texana is a perennial herb with simple leaves.
Cottonwood
Willow & Cottonwood — Family Salicaceae
Tree or shrub. Leaves alternate, simple. This family now includes Flacourtiaceae.
No image available.
Bastard Toadflax —  Comandra umbellata [1]
Green root parasite. Leaves alternate, simple, entire. No petals. Fruit drupe-like. Flowering Mar-May. Family Santalaceae.
Box-elder
Soapberry Family — Family Sapindaceae
Tree or vine. Leaves alternate, compound.
Chittamwood
Chittamwood & Bully — Genus Sideroxylon
Tree or shrub. Leaves alternate, simple. Fruits purplish-black. Family Sapotaceae.
Pale Pitcher Plant
Pale Pitcher Plant —  Sarracenia alata [1,2]
Insectivorous perennial herb. Petals 5, greenish-yellow. Sepals 5. Many stamens. Flowering Mar-Apr. Family Sarraceniaceae.
No image available.
Lizard's Tail & Mansa — Family Saururaceae
Leaves alternate, simple, entire. No petals or sepals. Stamens 3-8.
No image available.
Saxifrage Family — Family Saxifragaceae
Leaves simple. Petals 5, sepals 5, stamens 5-10.
Common Mullein
Figwort Family — Family Scrophulariaceae
Stamens usually 2 or 4 (5 in Verbascum). Fruit is a capsule with many seeds. This family now includes Buddlejaceae. Many plants previously in this family were moved to Orobanchaceae and Plantaginaceae.
Tree-of-heaven
Tree-of-heaven & Goatbush — Family Simaroubaceae
This family now includes Leitneriaceae.
Western Horse-nettle
Nightshade Family — Family Solanaceae
Leaves alternate. Flowers radially symmetrical, with 5 stamens. Fruit is a berry or capsule.
No image available.
Chickenspike —  Sphenoclea zeylanica [1]
Leaves alternate, simple. Stamens 5. Family Sphenocleaceae.
No image available.
Snowbells & Silverbells — Family Styracaceae
Tree or shrub. Leaves alternate, simple, deciduous.
No image available.
Sweetleaf — Genus Symplocos
Tree. Leaves alternate, simple. Flowers with many stamens. Family Symplocaceae.
No image available.
Tamarisk & Saltcedar — Genus Tamarix
Tree or shrub. Leaves small and scale-like. Family Tamaricaceae.
No image available.
Juniper Leaf —  Polypremum procumbens [1]
Leaves opposite, simple. Stamens 4. Family Tetrachondraceae.
No image available.
Silky Camellia —  Stewartia malacodendron [1]
Shrub or small tree. Leaves alternate, simple. Family Theaceae.
No image available.
Mezereon —  Thymelaea passerina [1]
Leaves usually alternate, but could be opposite. Family Thymelaeaceae.
Sugarberry
Elms & Hackberries — Family Ulmaceae
Trees. Leaves alternate, simple. Flowers small, greenish.
No image available.
Nettles & relatives — Family Urticaceae
Leaves simple. Flowers small, greenish.
Beaked Cornsalad
Valerian & Cornsalads — Family Valerianaceae
Dakota Vervain
Vervain & relatives — Family Verbenaceae
Tree, shrub, or herb. Stems square in the herbs. Leaves opposite, usually simple (compound in Vitex agnus-castus). Flowers slightly irregular, single ovary.
Missouri Violet
Violets — Family Violaceae
Leaves simple. Petals irregular.
Mistletoe
Mistletoe — Family Viscaceae
Summer Grape
Grape Family — Family Vitaceae
Vine with tendrils. Leaves alternate. Flowers opposite leaves. The fruit is a berry with 1-4 seeds.
No image available.
Caltrop Family — Family Zygophyllaceae
Leaves opposite, even pinnately compound.

Tips for identification

Flowers are a better indicator of family relationships than are leaves. To put another way, plants with similar flowers are more likely to be closely related than plants that merely have similar leaves. Flowers may have some or all of the following parts, from the outside in: bracts, sepals, petals, stamens, pistil. A flower may not have all of those parts, but what is present will always be in that order. There are countless botanical terms to describe flowers, but many refer to the above five parts in collection or dissection. Petals and sepals that cannot be distinguished from each other are called tepals, stamens are made up of filaments and anthers, and so on.

Counting the number of petals is the easiest way to narrow down the possible families. If the petals are joined, then count the lobes. There are typically as many sepals as petals, but make note of the sepal count if it differs or if the petals cannot be counted because there are none or they are exactly tubular. Use magnification to count the stamens. There will often be exactly as many as petals, but just as often there will be more (sometimes less). If there are more than 10 stamens, record it as "many".
Evidence that species is found in Texas:
  1. USDA Plants Database, advanced search for Texas plants from the United States Department of Agriculture.
  2. Rick's iNaturalist observations, nature observations of Richard K. Murphy. Identifications are not necessarily confirmed by other users.