Keys to Alberta Species

Draft Illustrated Keys to the Vascular Plants of Alberta
April 2019 / January 2020

The Draft Alberta Illustrated Keys presented here were written by Linda Kershaw and Lorna Allen. The full set of keys took several years to complete and test. The draft keys were posted as they were developed, and will continue to be available here.However, the corrected and updated versions have been compiled into a book, “Vascular Flora of Alberta: An Illustrated Guide” (June 2020), which is available through

Since the compiled keys became available in June 2020, some errors and some ways to improve the text have been found. The authors thank all who contacted them with corrections and suggestions. Lists of Errata and Enhancements for the 1st printing (June 2020) can be found here. The Errata include corrections that affect the use of the keys. Minor changes have also been made to correct typos, formatting, etc., but these are not included in the Errata. The Enhancements include additional features or wording changes that will enhance the keys. The updated 2nd printing, incorporating these Errata and Enhancements, was published in November 2020.

The draft keys, available here, begin with the introductory Keys to Family, followed by 4 major groups: Pteridophytes (ferns and fern allies), Gymnosperms (coniferous trees and shrubs), Monocots (seed plants with 1 cotyledon), Dicots (seed plants with 2 cotyledons).

Keys to the Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms are each presented in a single file. However, the Monocots and Dicots are much larger groups, so they have each been divided into several files. These include 19 single-family keys which cover the larger families. Miscellaneous small families and a few recently revised family groups (i.e. Lilies & Allies in the Monocots; Figworts & Allies in the Dicots) have been lumped together in common files to simplify the website and/or to facilitate naming and identification. Families with just 1 species in Alberta will appear in the ‘Keys to Family’ section. There is an alphabetical list of families, with the Section and File where each is located, at the end of this page.

Click on each group or family below for the pdf file.

















Alphabetical list and location of family files. To download a pdf file of this entire table click here


Family Section File Name
Acoraceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Adoxaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Alismataceae Monocots Miscellaneous Monocots
Amaranthaceae Dicots Amaranthaceae
Amaryllidaceae Monocots Liliaceae and Allies
Anacardiaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Apocynaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Apiaceae Dicots Apiaceae
Araceae Monocots Miscellaneous Monocots
Araliaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Aristolochiaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Asparagaceae Monocots Liliaceae and Allies
Aspleniaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Aspleniaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Asteraceae Dicots Asteraceae
Athyriaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Balsaminaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Berberidaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Betulaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Boraginaceae Dicots Boraginaceae
Brassicaceae Dicots Brassicaceae
Butomaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Cabombaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Cactaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Campanulaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Cannabaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Caprifoliaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Caryophyllaceae Dicots Caryophyllaceae
Celastraceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Ceratophyllaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Cistaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Cleomaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Commelinaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Convolvulaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Cornaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Crassulaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Cucurbitaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Cupressaceae Gymnosperms Gymnosperms
Cyperaceae Monocots Cyperaceae
Cystopteridaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Dennstaedtiaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Dennstaedtiaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Droseraceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Dryopteridaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Elaeagnaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Elatinaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Equisetaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Ericaceae Dicots Ericaceae
Euphorbiaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Fabaceae Dicots Fabaceae
Fagaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Gentianaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Geraniaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Grossulariaceae Dicots Grossulariaceae
Haloragaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Hydrangeaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Hydrocharitaceae Monocots Miscellaneous Monocots
Hydrophyllaceae Dicots Hydrophyllaceae
Hypericaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Iridaceae Monocots Miscellaneous Monocots
Isoetaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Juncaceae Monocots Juncaceae
Juncaginaceae Monocots Miscellaneous Monocots
Lamiaceae Dicots Lamiaceae
Lentibulariaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Liliaceae Monocots Liliaceae and Allies
Linaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Loasaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Loranthaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Lycopodiaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Lythraceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Malvaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Marsileaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Marsileaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Melanthiaceae Monocots Liliaceae and Allies
Menyanthaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Molluginaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Montiaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Myricaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Nyctaginaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Nymphaeaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Oleaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Onagraceae Dicots Onagraceae
Onocleaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Onocleaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Ophioglossaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Orchidaceae Monocots Orchidaceae
Orobanchaceae Dicots Figworts and Allies
Oxalidaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Papaveraceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Phrymaceae Dicots Figworts and Allies
Pinaceae Gymnosperms Gymnosperms
Plantaginaceae Dicots Figworts and Allies
Poaceae Monocots Poaceae
Polemoniaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Polygalaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Polygonaceae Dicots Polygonaceae
Polypodiaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Portulacaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Potamogetonaceae Monocots Potamogetonaceae
Primulaceae Dicots Primulaceae
Pteridaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Ranunculaceae Dicots Ranunculaceae
Rhamnaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Rosaceae Dicots Rosaceae
Rubiaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Ruppiaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Salicaceae Dicots Salicaceae
Santalaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Sapindaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Sarraceniaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Saxifragaceae Dicots Saxifragaceae
Scheuchzeriaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Scrophulariaceae Dicots Figworts and Allies
Selaginellaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Solanaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Tamaricaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Taxaceae Gymnosperms Gymnosperms
Thelypteridaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Thelypteridaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes
Tofieldiaceae Monocots Liliaceae and Allies
Typhaceae Monocots Miscellaneous Monocots
Ulmaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Urticaceae Dicots Miscellaneous Dicots
Verbenaceae Keys to Family Keys to Family
Violaceae Dicots Violaceae
Woodsiaceae Pteridophytes Pteridophytes


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