Need help identifying

a plant in the park?

Try out our dichotomous key HERE to figure it out! Not finding what you are looking for? Email us a photo and we will try to add the specimen to our dichotomous key. 

Mosses: A plant that has no flowers and grows as small leafy stems in patches like cushions clinging to rocks, bark, or the damp ground.
Lichen: A plant-like organism made up of algae and fungus growing together. The algae produces food from the sun via photosynthesis, while the fungus absorbs moisture and provides the protective framework structure for the algae. 

Algae: Any of a large group of simple plants and plant-like organisms (like seaweed) that usually grow in water and produce chlorophyll like plants, but do not produce seeds.

Fungus: Member of the kingdom of living things (as mushrooms, molds, and rusts) that have no chlorophyll and must live in or on plants, animals, or decaying material.

Definitions From: Merriam-Webster Dictionary.


Plant Allies:

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Click one of the following to learn more!

ID Characteristics
Funky Facts!
References/More Information 

Help us build this database by volunteering as a Biodiversity Researcher!

Click here to learn more! 


Help us build this database by volunteering as a Biodiversity Researcher!

Click here to learn more! 

What the Fungus?!
  • Fungus, they aren’t plants or animals, but in a kingdom all their own! We as humans are more closely related to fungi than any other kingdom.

  • Fungi inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide just like humans.

  • Fungi were the first organism to come to land 1.3 billion years ago!

  • Fungi, in the form of a mycelium matt, is said to be the largest organism on earth!

  • Fungi produce enzymes that can break down rocks, dead organic matter, and living tissues that they use for food.

  • Fungi can be both destructive and life sustaining. From beer production, to fermented foods like sauerkraut, life-saving medicine, and the many wonderfully delicious mushrooms we eat, fungi deserve a place of honor.

  • Many fungi have been used in mycoremediation (using fungi to remove toxic substances from the soil or water).

  • Fungi are also termed “nature’s internet” by Paul Stamets in his book “Mycelium Running.” He describes the ability of fungi to connect plant roots and transfer nutrients between plants!

  • In the book Botany in a Day, Thomas Elip states that “90 percent of all plants associate with fungus in the soil, and 80 percent could not survive without their fungal partners.” We have a lot to thank fungus for! 

More Information:

YouTube Video: “Fungi: Death Becomes Them” by CrashCourse Biology #39
“Using Fungi to Fix Bridges” Binghampton University 
Joe Rogan's Mind Is Blown By Biologist Explaining Fungal Intelligence 


local resources

Check out these organizations to learn more about plant allies in our area!
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© 2014 by Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation