Most members often go out on short or longer trips to places that often are difficult to visit again if some crucial photographs are missing. When moving in a group, or visiting a convenient place, it is always helpful if one or two laptops are handy, and those without laptop carry an external storage drive to download photographs from camera, so that camera in field has enough storing space. Take as many photographs, from different angles as possible, and you won’t repent later on.
It was a practice (and still with many often citing time constraint) to take a single (or a few) close up of the flower only that makes identification a difficult task most of the times. More so digital photography often gives very confusing estimate of size, unless a measurable object or scale is used. The size of plant, size and shape of leaves, their insertion, arrangement of flowers on the inflorescence axis, bracts (presence, size and shape), pedicel (presence or absence and length if present), size of calyx in relation to corolla (including size relation of lobes and tube), corolla colour, length, diameter; number of sepals, number of petals, size relation of corolla tube and lobes, numbers of stamens and length, numbers of styles and stigmas and their length in relation to ovary, the type, shape and size of fruit are all important characters very crucial in identification. More so in different families different characters hold more importance, which even not the trained taxonomists may know for all the families.
I am not here to confuse you the least. Just enjoy your trip and photography. Forget about these terms if you are not a botanist. Just take a few good photographs of each plant that you encounter, upload it when you come back, and let the experts extract the identifying features from your photographs. I hope it would be ideal if you bring back at least four good photographs of a plant:
1. Habit of the plant, showing a twig well in focus, taken from side of the branch.
2. Close up of the flower from side so that its insertion on the axis is visible.
3. Close up of the flower from the top so that corolla, stamens and carpels are in focus.
4. A close up of the fruit (if available).
Any additional photograph would be a bonus, but please don’t miss any of these as far as possible.
Please spend an extra shot of a small twig with flowers along side a scale (a pen especially its tip pointing the object; or on your palm so that you can later estimate size) to get accurate estimate of size of flowers and leaves (and by inference other parts).
Wishing you a Happy and fruitful visit to new areas to explore, and bring memories back..