The Plant Identification Team generally competes in three contests each year.
The Plant Identification Contests are made up of a list of plants found across North America. The team members are responsible for learning the scientific name of the plant and the proper spelling of the plant. The Texas Chapter – The Wildlife Contest also has “wildcard” plants that are not on the list. Students learn to identify plant both by floral and vegetative characteristics. They must learn whether the plant is annual or perennial, native or introduced, and the scientific name. The students had to learn over 260 plant species by sight; twigs, roots, stems, flowers and florets (grass flowers). They may only get to see one of one these parts to identify the plant. They competed against a total of 32 universities and 195 individuals from across North America.
The first competition is held at the Texas Section Society for Range Management Annual Meeting held in October. The contest list has about 75 plants that are both on the international contest list and the Texas 4-H and FFA plant identification contests lists. There are 200 plants on the list for the international contest held at the Society For Range Management Annual Meeting, usually in February. The Texas Wildlife Society also has a contest in which the team participates.
The Texas A&M Plant Identification Team placed first in the Texas Section Society for Range Management and Texas Widlife Society contests in 2016-2017 and third at the International Society for Range Management meeting (the highest placing US team).
For more information about joining the Plant Identification Team, contact Dr. Bob Knight.