Can You ID These Common Plants From One Image?

SCIENCE

Marie Hullett

7 Min Quiz

Image: kolderal / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

From 200-foot-tall trees to carnivorous plants that gobble up spiders, there's a huge variety of flora and fauna across the globe. There's a plant that "dances" (dancing grass), one that curls up when touched (the shy plant), and one that smells like rotting flesh (the corpse flower). (Getting up-close-and-personal with the latter is definitely not recommended.) 

With the "indoor jungle" trend in full swing, it's easy to forget that plants are not just for decoration. They help us build homes, provide us with food, and are a key source of many modern medications. Thanks to them, we have a variety of colorful seasonings and spices; we can sip on tea or munch on salad to our heart's desire. Plus, plants produce the oxygen we need to breathe — fairly important stuff. (Almost as vital is the fact that we can thank plants for our daily cup of coffee.)

Although plants remain a fundamental part of our everyday lives, many people can't identify the plants they see when taking a walk down the street. Can you? Can you spot the difference between a maple and an oak? Do you differentiate between a zinnia and a dahlia? What about peonies and hydrangeas? Take the following quiz to test your knowledge of flowers, shrubs, trees, foliage and beyond. 

This striking flower is native to South Africa but has become a very trendy indoor house plant in America. What is its name?

The Strelitzia plant's flowers recall the vibrant shades of the birds-of-paradise songbirds. In South Africa, these plants are commonly called crane flowers. If you want to add a splash of color to your space, this artful species should do the trick.

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This shiny plant gleams in the sunshine and is easy to grow. What is its name?

What do you know, money really does grow on trees. Sure, you might not be able to spend it anywhere, but the leaves of Lunaria biennis do look lovely. This plant is a member of the mustard or cabbage family, which makes it a relative of vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

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This windy, flowering vine is native to China and thrives during even the coldest months. What do you call it?

Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is among the nearly 200 species of jasmine vines across the globe. Like other species of jasmine, this plant can be identified by its star-shaped flowers.

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Aw, this bloom almost resembles a heart. What's it called?

It's clear how the common bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) got its name. Other popular names for the flower include "lyre flower" and "lady-in-a-bath." The pink and white blooms thrive in shady conditions across the globe.

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These delightful flowers are often tangerine- or crimson-hued and speckled. What do you call them?

Tiger lilies (Lilium lancifolium or Lilium tigrinum) are native to Japan, Korea, China, and Russia. Its petals will curve backwards, creating a lovely bell-like shape. Although they may look pretty, they are an invasive, aggressive species that will overrun a garden without proper care. For that reason, most gardeners prefer to stay away from them.

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The hardwood tree pictured here is known for its distinctive papery bark. What is it called?

The slender birch tree grows easily and freely across the North Hemisphere, but is considered a threatened species largely because of its relatively short lifespan. On average, birch trees live about 140 years — sure, that's longer than humans do, but many other tree species live for hundreds or even thousands.

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What do you call these tiny white flowers?

Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) flowers may look delicate, but their immense popularity with gardeners stems from their toughness. Their versatile blooms remain hardy in fluctuating weather and add a lovely accompaniment to any flowerbed.

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These vibrant spring-blooming flowers are usually purple in hue. What is the plant's name?

The crocus flower comes from a bulb and emerges from its grass-like foliage often just after the last snow of the season. This plant belongs to the iris family and can be found around the world, from Greece to China to Kentucky.

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Often mistaken for an herb, this aromatic plant is actually an herbaceous perennial. What is it?

Lavender (Lavandula) is one of nearly 50 species of flowering plants in the mint family. This popular plant is used worldwide for ornamental use, essential oil extraction, and culinary herbs. These days, the plant can be found in everything from tea to cupcakes to salad dressings.

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This plant has a few common names. What are they?

The Dwarf flowering almond shrub (Prunus glandulosa) has pink or white blooms that arrive each April. At most, the plant will reach about four feet tall.

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There are more than 600 species of this tree across the world, but North America contains the most varieties. What is it?

Oak trees are characterized by spiraled leaves and bear acorns. In addition to being a popular landscape addition, oak wood is popular in construction due to its insect-resistant properties, attractive grain style, and pigmentation.

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This purple-toned flowering bush is known for its pleasing aroma. Do you know what it is?

Lilacs are native to areas across southeastern Europe. The sweetly-smelling flower is often associated with love and is the state flower of New Hampshire.

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The flower pictured here smells distinctively sweet — but not sweet enough to eat, as it's highly poisonous. What is it called?

This pretty bell-flowered plant (Convallaria majalis) is native to northern Europe and Asia, and is sometimes called "Our Lady's tears." The plant is often used in perfumes because of its saccharine scent, but should never be ingested — all parts of the plant are highly poisonous. It's

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What do you call this waterfall-like vine?

Although lovely, Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) grows very aggressively and is considered an invasive species in many places where it's not native. They grow by twining around any form of support and can grow as high as 66 feet and 33 feet wide.

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This plant is a member of the sunflower family. Do you know what it's called?

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) has a lot of nicknames: it's also sometimes called brown-eyed Susan, brown betty, golden Jerusalem, English bull's eye, poor-land daisy and yellow-ox eye daisy. It's the state flower of Maryland, and is used as a medicinal herb by several Native American tribes.

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The vine pictured here boasts architecturally pleasing flowers that people adore; they also smell delicious. What is it?

These sweet-smelling vines adorn walls, gates, and gardens across the globe. However, certain species, including Japanese honeysuckle, have become very invasive outside of their native areas. For that reason, most advise against planting them in areas like the U.S. and New Zealand (two countries that have been particularly affected).

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Featured here is a thorny, decorative vine native to South America. What is its name?

Often found in rich shades of magenta, the bougainvillea vine is a popular outdoor ornamental addition to the warmer parts of the globe; it can also be cultivated as a house plant in cooler areas. Its vines may grow as tall as 40 feet. Fun fact: Bougainvillea is the official flower of Guam.

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Everyone loves when these trees bloom in the springtime. What is this species called?

Cherry trees refer to the hundreds of species of flowering plants under the genus Prunus. While they vary widely in appearance, they are known for their fruit-bearing properties and impressive, pastel-colored blooms. The cherries aren't always edible, though, so do your research before you pluck fruit from this tree!

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In France, these flowers were believed to bring good luck to brides who carried them. Do you know their name?

The name sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) became popularized after the 1884 publication of English Romantic poet John Keats' poem "I stood tip-top upon a little hill." "Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight / With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white," the poem says. Eventually, the flower became a feature in Edwardian England's floral emblem.

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Watch this tree all year and you'll see it transform from bright green to a rich golden tone. What do you call it?

Also sometimes called the maidenhair tree, the Ginkgo biloba tree is Native to China but cultivated across the globe. Archaeologists have found fossils of the ginkgo tree dating back to 270 million years ago; and it has often used for traditional medicinal purposes as well as a source of food.

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This flowering plant is native to warm and tropical regions across the globe. Can you pick it from this list?

Also sometimes called rose mallow, hibiscus is a genus that contains several hundred species. In addition to being widely used for ornamental purposes, the flower is also used to make tea in many parts of the world. In Mexico, the roselle hibiscus is also eaten as a vegetable and dried hibiscus is consumed as a delicacy.

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The flowering plant pictured is a winter holiday staple. What is it?

Holly (Ilex) refers to the nearly 500 species of evergreen trees, deciduous trees, and shrubs in the family Aquifoliaceae. Birds, including wild turkeys, cedar waxwings, mourning doves, goldfinches and cardinals, love to snack on holly berries, but humans shouldn't eat them. They can be highly toxic and even fatal to people.

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The vibrant plant pictured is native to Mexico and has over 42 different species. What is it?

Alongside the likes of chrysanthemums, sunflowers, daisies, and zinnias, this bushy perennial plant is a member of the Asteraceae family. They can be as small as 2 inches in diameter or as wide as 1 foot — the latter of which have been dubbed "dinner plate dahlias." While most plants only have two sets of chromosomes, dahlias have eight, which allows them greater diversity in size than other species.

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This brightly blooming shrub is popular for ornamental and medicinal purposes alike. What is its name?

Occasionally referred to as winterbloom, witch hazel (Hamamelis) is a type of flowering plant native to Japan and North America. The shrub is popular in North American gardens for its bright yellow blooms. Witch hazel extract has also long been used by Native Americans to treat inflammation and other ailments.

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These pretty trees come in shades of white, pink, purple and red. What is its common name?

Although this tree originated from Asia, it has been naturalized in the Southeastern United States and is commonly found in states like Georgia and South Carolina. The plant's leaves seem to resemble crepe paper, which is where the name crepe myrtle stems from.

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Can you identify this tropical plant?

Elephant ear plants (Colocasia) truly earned their name: Their leaves, which are shaped like elephant ears, can grow up to five feet in length. These herbaceous perennials sprout large flowers just above the ground.

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These perennial flowers are a coveted variety. Can you correctly identify them?

This vibrant flower is native to Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, and Turkey, but remains a very popular addition to gardens across the globe. They are most commonly deep shades of orange and red, but also may be found in soft pinks and purples. Don't eat its seeds, though. They might resemble those on your bagel, but the edible kind typically come from the opium poppy.

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This flowering tree is native to eastern North America and northern Mexico. What is its name?

Also sometimes called Florida or American dogwood, Cornus florida can be found in backyards and parks across the U.S. The tree sometimes bears cherry-red fruit that birds eagerly gobble up. In addition to its blooms, many people like the flowering dogwood tree for its unique bark pattern.

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This shrub grows in countless colors and varieties. Can you identify it?

Sometimes called hortensia, hydrangea refers to about 75 species of flowering plants native to parts of Asia and the Americas. Most varieties of hydrangea are shrubs that grow up to 10 feet tall, but there are also small hydrangea trees. Hydrangea is named for the Greek word for "water vessel" due to the shape of its seeds.

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This flower attracts monarch and swallowtail butterflies. What do you call it?

Despite having "weed" in its name, the Asclepias tuberosa is a problem-free and attractive choice for any backyard. In addition to attracting butterflies, it will also invite hummingbirds, bees, and other beneficial insects to the garden to help it flourish.

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What do you call this tall, tubular-blooming plant?

Native to Europe and Northwest Africa, the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) plant can grow up to 6 feet tall. They are common in backyards across the globe, but they are extremely poisonous to humans and animals, so don't eat them!

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This spindly plant comes from the Arabian Peninsula. What species is it?

Aloe vera is a type of succulent plant widely cultivated for medicinal and agricultural uses. It is commonly found in moisturizers, cosmetics and ointments to treat a variety of skin ailments.

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Can you name this flowering shrub?

Azaleas are a popular garden plant that belong to the Rhododendron genus. They are native to North America, Asia, and Europe, but according to historians, didn't exist in the U.S. until the 1840s. A rice plantation owner from South Carolina imported them use in his estate garden that he later made public. Each spring, people still visit Magnolia Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Most species of this plant originate from East Asia. Can you ID it?

Also called mums or chrysanths, chrysanthemums are flowering plants native to Asia and northeastern Europe. The flower is particularly important to East Asian culture and is depicted in many pieces of ancient Chinese art. In Japan, Chrysanthemum Day is one of the five ancient sacred festivals. The country's monarchy is also called the Chrysanthemum Throne and the flower is featured in the Imperial Seal of Japan.

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This flower is one of the trendiest wedding flowers around. What is its name?

The peony is a flowering plant belonging to the Paeonia genus. These aromatic flowers are among the most popular in gardens in temperate areas. They are also a highly sought cut flower for bouquets.

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What do you call this flowering species that was historically used to treat gout?

Aside from its traditional use to treat gout, this plant (Teucrium chamaedrys) is still brewed as a tea to ease gastrointestinal stress. Wall germander is a common ornamental plant across the globe.

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Can you identify this deciduous tree?

Beech trees are native to temperate areas of Europe, North America, and Asia. People often inscribe initials and other messages on beech trees — due to the trees' delicate bark and its inability to heal itself, these messages endure.

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People tend to call this flower by its scientific name nearly as often as its common name. Can you identify this stunning violet-hued bloom?

The beautiful Delphinium plant is often called Black Knight delphinium or larkspur. You might not know it because of its deep purple hue, but this flower belongs to the predominantly yellow buttercup family.

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This plant is toxic to humans. Do you know its name?

The name milkweed (Asclepias) stems from the milky, latex liquid it excretes. This species is commonly found across North America, South America, and Africa. Although Carl Linnaeus named it after Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, it is toxic to humans. However, they serve as an important source of nectar for bees and provide a food source for monarch butterflies.

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In the U.S., this plant is known to be challenging to grow. Can you identify it?

Despite the difficulties in cultivating this flower, American gardeners continue to do so. Bitterroot takes time, patience, and proper drainage to reveal its broad spectrum of colors. The species (Lewisia rediviva) is named after explorer Meriwether Lewis.

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