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Key A - General Plant Form

1Small fern with a hairy, four-leaf, clover-like frond (mainly ponds and water filled depressions)Common Nardoo (Marsilea drummondii)
Water Clover Family (Marsileaceae)
2Perennial woody plants or biennial plants,becoming woody or tough with age3
2Annual non-woody plants or if perennials with base and older stems becoming tough with age, then less than 0.2 m tall: Herbs:5
3Plants having a main trunk with a distinctive bark layer and branches with a more or less simple forking pattern; generally more than 3m tallTrees (Key B)
3Plants without a main trunk but with an intricate and often dense branching pattern; generally less than 3 m tall 4
4Plants with a more or less erect growth habit; generally 0.5 - 3 m tallShrubs (Key C)
4Plants with dense, ground-hugging, compact growth and at least the lower parts of basal branches becoming woody with age; generally 0.2 - 0.5 m tallSub-shrubsd (Key C)
5Plants with short or broad leaves with branching veins (one exception is Ribwort1); tap roots or bulbs: ForbsbDicotyledons (Key D)
5Plants with long and narrow leaves having parallel veins (exceptions include Water Plantain and Star-fruitc); fibrous roots (sometimes with stolons or rhizomes): non-Forbs (Grasses and Rush-like Plants)Monocotyledons (Key E)

aRibwort (Plantago lanceolata) is a Dicotyledon in Family Plantaginaceae and has more or less parallel veins, while the remaining members have branching veins.
bNote that Trees, Shrubs and Sub-shrubs are also Dicotyledons and while Grasses and Rush-like Plants are technically Herbs, they are not Forbs.
cWater Plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica) and Star-fruit (Damasonium minus) are Monocotyledons in family Alismataceae but have rather broad, pointed leaves with cross-veins between the parallel veins. Their fruits are distinctive; being small wheels or stars of fruitlets go directly to these pages for images and descriptions
dSub-shrubs often bridge the gap between Shrubs and Forbs and therefore the key to the latter may need to be consulted if the plant you are examining does not appear in the former. A few species have been included in both keys but as a rule, species have been assigned to their most common form.

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