Landscape Plant Identification

Planting Plan

Welcome to our recently completed Landscape Plants Website.

This project has been undertaken with the help of an internal grant from the University of Sheffield in order to provide a more effective means of teaching plants to all students on courses within the Department.

The information in the website is unusual in that it´s written for you; people who design with plants generally in public landscapes, and who need to have more critical, evaluative information about those plants than is generally available in the largely garden oriented decorative plant literature. We often have to use plants in environments that at best are biologically and socially sub-optimal, at worst downright hostile, and hence understanding of what plants tolerate rather than "prefer" is important. We have tried to pay particularly attention to the habitat of species in the wild as this often correlates closely with the tolerances of those species in cultivation in designed landscapes. For example, a shrub that occurs in nature as a woodland understorey plant, inevitably has to be highly tolerant of heavy shade. Conversely a herbaceous plant found in a sunny meadow will typically be intolerant of shade as it will have evolved in the absence of a tree canopy. Integrating a critical review and awareness of the habitat of plants into their use in designed landscapes is a central plank in achieving more sustainable landscapes.

It´s important to see this as an evolving project; we will add new photographs of species to the species accounts in due course, that for example, flower in spring. The website has been developed over the late summer to early autumn period so most of the images are of plants at that time of year. Students can contribute to this process; if you have taken a high quality image of a plant that is listed in the webpage but either not present as images or is not present as images at a particular time of year, then email a copy to with the name on the email header and we will eventually upload these (where the quality is sufficiently good, etc.) to the website. Please include a sentence in the email in which you waive your copyright to the image you have sent us. In some cases we have text but no image as yet; we hope to correct these deficiencies in the coming year, and you can help us with this by supplying images. We will keep the website alive and up to date by adding new species and cultivars as the opportunity presents itself.

We have endeavoured to supply a Google map location for the species in the website, in terms of the closest specimen we know of within a km of the Arts Tower-Crookesmoor Building that you have public access to. Doubtless there will be other examples within this radius for some species. Do try to check out plants in the landscape; an image is no substitute for understanding what the real thing looks like and does, and particularly how it changes across the year and through time.

Click Here to go to the Plant ID database


James Hitchmough, Professor of Horticultural Ecology in the Department wrote most of the original text, and has directed the development of the Website. Sandra Kanapeckaitė took most of the photographs, and provided location details. Helen Cummins and Hannah Leach edited the text, wrote new text, checked names and constructed the website with the help of Paul Buck who designed the website format.