If you are looking for a book or books to help you identify common houseplants, here are a few of the newer ones that you might consider.
Ortho’s All About Houseplants by Marilyn Rogers (Editor).
This book was reviewed by three Amazon.com customers and received an average of four out of five stars. Besides describing the different types of houseplants (with plenty of pictures to help you with doing your own identification), the book also provides great tips to help beginners choose the right type of houseplant for their homes and take care of the houseplant after bringing it home. One of the reviewers states that the book is a “must have” for beginner indoors gardeners.
Besides plenty of relevant information for both novice and expert indoor growers, the book is also priced right. There are copies available on Amazon for only one penny (plus shipping costs). Even if the book doesn’t end up helping you identify the plants the way you would like, it is not going to cost you much to find that out.
The New Houseplant A-Z: Everything You Need to Know to Identify, Choose, and Care for the 350 most Popular Houseplants by Peter McHoy.
This book is also available on Amazon and might be a better reference. The book has more than 600 full color pictures to help you identify all sorts of different plants, from cacti to ferns and everything in between. The book is not that long, it is only 128 pages but the pages are stuffed with both pictures and good information. The book will help you identify plants by leaves and by foliage. The author is a well-known gardening expert and has written over 30 gardening books on various topics.
Houseplants for Dummies by Larry Hodgson and National Gardening Association.
If you are familiar with the “for Dummies” series, you will know what to expect from this book. If you are not familiar with the series, you will be pleasantly surprised by the way these books can describe and explain things in common language. In the Houseplants for Dummies book, the focus is not necessarily on identifying houseplants but rather on identifying the proper care of different types of plants. However, there are plenty of pictures and descriptions of the different kinds of houseplants. Chances are good that if you need to identify a houseplant, you will be able to use this book to help you do it.
To find identification information in this book you will want to look at the section titled “houseplant profiles”. In this section, you will find pictures of common types of plants and descriptions of leaf and stem differences. For example, you will learn the characteristics of fern leaves versus characteristics of a hibiscus. Once you have narrowed a plant down to the broad type, it will be easier to specifically identify the plant.
You may not be able to identify a plant perfectly through any one of these books. However, using any of these books will help you to narrow down your options for what the plant might be. Match up the pictures from the book to the plant. It is likely that your plant is at least related to the best matching picture. Once you know the family that the plant is likely to come from, you can then use the Internet to help you specifically identify the type of plant. If you are not able to identify the plant using one of these books or the Internet, you might have to take the plant to a local greenhouse or nursery for positive identification.