No one who loves plants, either cultivated or wild, has failed to note how they differ from one another in shape, size, color and arrangement of the flowers, the leaves and other parts. These features are essentially the same in all individuals of a given species, but differ greatly in individual plants not belonging to the same species or variety.
To express these differences requires a terminology that is familiar largely only to those who have studied botany. The fact that it is practically impossible to describe a plant accurately without the use of a certain number of these special terms is a great impediment to a broad familiarity with our wild flowers on the part of all those who would like to study them with the aid of botanical guides. Because of the great variety of flowering plants and the minuteness of the flowers on many of them, the difficulty of identification is even greater than that connected with the study of bird and animal life.
The following brief summary of the terms necessary to an accurate description of a flowering plant, taken alone, means little to the average reader. Taken in connection with the plants as they are found growing and carefully studied, these terms, as soon as understood, place one on a footing of easy familiarity with the wild flowers, so that an accurate description as given in books means something definite and enables one to decide if the given description applies to the plant under consideration. Supplemented by illustrations, a study of the terminology used enables the student to acquire a much wider knowledge of our wild flowers.