This is especially true when it comes to plants. People often tell me that all moths look brown and confusing, but plants are a whole new level of baffling - especially when all you have to go by are the leaves! Last year I bought myself one of those vegetative keys; completely devoid of pictures but with a promise on the blurb that the key will make identification of wild flowers 'swift and easy' for beginners with use of a 'minimal number of technical terms'. Excited and eager, I turned to the description for Bluebell and my heard sank:
"Lvs 3-6, 0.7-1.6cm wide. Raceme 1-sided. Fls all soon nodding, fragrant; stamens unequal; anthers cream"
I've been too frightened to use the key since. Luckily, the plants in flower today on my stroll to the local woods weren't quite so hard to identify...
A carpet of Lesser Celandine
It well and truly felt like spring, but I'm now beginning to wonder whether the lure of such fantastic countryside just a 15 minutes walk from my student house is going to prove detrimental in the last few months of my degree!