Can You ID These Plants by Their Leaves?

By: Dustyn Deerman

Can You ID These Plants by Their Leaves?
Image: RK Studio/Kevin Lanthier / Photodisc / Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you're out and about, and you come across a plant, are you able to name it? What about naming it based solely on its leaves? If you're a plant owner at home, do you know what to call those lovely members of your indoor jungle? There are a number of ways you can identify a plant, but its leaves should be one of your best clues!

Yet, in today's world, are we still in touch with the beautiful creations mother nature has given us? Do we even notice the plants around us, or are they just in the background? You may not spend too much time thinking about plants and their names (or nicknames), but we're willing to bet you could name at least some of the plants in this quiz, based on their leaves alone! Simply pay attention to their colors, their shapes, variegation and size. Some should be pretty obvious.

So, do you think you have what it takes to ace our quiz? Surely you can recognize Apple products based on their fruit logo or Nike by their swoosh — now let's see what you can name straight from mother nature's [un]official marketing team. Don't let the only time you pay attention to a plant's leaves be when you're raking them up this fall and winter!
Prayer plant What plant's leaves are known for closing and opening, based on how much sun it's receiving?
Monstera deliciosa
Calathea
Venus flytrap
Prayer plant
The prayer plant got its name specifically because of its physical response to the sun — the leaves fold at night. This is a definite indicator of how sensitive this plant really is; it needs bright light to stay happy. Still, this beauty is an easy one to add to your indoor jungle at home.

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Spider plant Which plant's name comes from the small, unruly "plantlets" it sprouts as it matures?
Fern
Spider plant
Spider plants can sprout a number of these "plantlets" with leafy legs, creating quite the visual if you do not snip the little ones and just let them mature. Those small spider-like clumps will grow into small plants and be perfectly fine living attached to the stem they sprouted from.
Snake plant
Devil's tongue

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Stinking corpse lily If you're out in nature, which of these plants will you likely smell before you get to actually check out its leaves?
Western skunk cabbage
Hardy banana
Birthwort
Stinking corpse lily
This plant is unique in every way. Visually it is distinguishable next to any other plant, but even more than that, your nose will tell you it's nearby. Those who have gotten close enough describe the smell as rotting flesh. This is a tactic to attract insects, though; they land on the plant thinking there is food, but they are actually helping to pollinate it.

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Venus flytrap Which plant's leaves take less than a second to react to being touched or landed on?
Sundew
Venus flytrap
That's right, the area where a Venus flytrap captures its prey is considered a leaf. These leaves have stiff hairs that become triggered once they are touched. If enough pressure is applied, the two lobes of the leaf will immediately shut, trapping whatever landed there inside.
Tropical pitcher plant
Butterwort

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Dracaena What plant's narrow foliage can range in color, including deep red, chartreuse or silver?
Sansevieria
Aloe vera
Spider plant
Dracaena
Different species of dracaena will grow in different colors, and sometimes in color pairs; you can find dracaenas with blue and green, purple and burgundy, chartreuse and gray. Sunlight can affect the vibrancy of these colors for better or worse, so be sure your dracaena is happy!

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Nerve plant Which plant's name is directly related to the noticeable veins in its leaves?
Prayer plant
Radiator plant
Polka dot plant
Nerve plant
Also known as a Fittonia or mosaic plant, the nerve plant gets its nickname from the way the veins in its leaves manifest. The nervous system in our bodies comes to mind, especially when the veins are highlighted in a beautiful red shade contrasting against the dark green of the leaf.

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Living stones Which plant features two bulbous leaves that are essentially fused together, resembling a rock?
Living stone
Living stones, otherwise known as Lithops or pebble plants, are pretty convincing, aren't they? Each colorful species is associated with one type of rock and will not be found anywhere else.
Burro's tail
Chocolate soldier
String-of-pearls

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Dolphin succulent What animal would you say the leaves of this plant resemble?
Zebra
Crocodile
Panda
Dolphin
Yes, this is a dolphin succulent! Other than its official name, Senecio peregrinus, there really couldn't be another name for this plant — the little leaves do look exactly like tiny swimming dolphins. This succulent is a hybrid between the string of pearls succulent and the hot dog cactus.

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Black bat flower Which plant features large, smooth, bright green leaves, along with a striking black flower with threadlike tendrils?
Black mondo grass
Dahlia
Black bat flower
While the black bat flower's leaves make this a notable plant, the truly striking detail here is what its name suggests — the flower! Its all-black appearance and long, wispy tendrils make this plant one of a kind.
Queen of night tulip

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Maple tree Which tree with iconic leaves produces sap that's used for many products we enjoy?
Maple tree
Everyone knows the maple leaf! It is featured on the Canadian flag, after all. Still, there are maple trees all over the world, varying in appearance. Those that grace the landscapes of North America are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves each fall, but some in southern Asia never lose their leaves.
Sycamore tree
Oak tree
Maidenhair tree

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Fiddle leaf fig Of these hip plants, which one is constantly featured in film, magazines and blogs, due to its large, distinguishable leaves?
Swiss cheese plant
Rubber fig
Viper's bowstring hemp
Fiddle leaf fig
The popularity of the fiddle leaf fig may know no bounds! Some attribute its hike in popularity to Ikea carrying smaller figs in recent years for as low as $14, which surely put them in a super high number of homes. Now, any plant shop you walk into or visit online is constantly selling out of it.

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Burro's tail succulent Which succulent is aptly named, due to its hanging cylindrical stems and leaves?
Rabbit ears succulent
Burro's tail succulent
The burro's tail succulent is another properly nicknamed plant. With its stacked leaves on hanging stems, it really does begin to resemble a bunch of animals' tails. While these make for super fun houseplants, do keep in mind they are very sensitive to overwatering; those tails can quickly lose their leaves with too much moisture.
Hedgehog aloe
Tiger tooth aloe

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White queen Which caladium's name speaks to one of the dominant colors seen in its leaves?
White queen
There are many caladiums for us to admire, often named for the coloring on their leaves, but none stands out as much as the white queen caladium. You can grow this plant in the shade, making it quite hardy.
June bride
Thai beauty
Red flash

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Bamboo Which plant offers a plethora of health benefits, including promotion of healthy skin, hair and nails?
Giant cane
Bamboo
Bamboo leaves contain a high level of fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients. On top of the beauty benefits, they can aid our digestive system, reduce high blood pressure and even help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
Cattail
Bulrush

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Greenovia What name is correct for the succulent pictured?
Haworthia
Echeveria
Greenovia
Greenovia is more commonly known as the rose succulent because, well, look at it! You can find these little cuties in different shades of green and pink, making them an especially unique way to gift someone a bouquet the next time you want to send roses.
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora

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Aglaonema ruby All Aglaonema plants are named for their leaf variegation. Which name best matches these leaves?
Aglaonema romeo
Aglaonema white
Aglaonema tigress
Aglaonema ruby
Aglaonemas are known for their striking leaf variegations. What makes them stand out even more is the number of shades you can find them in. If you have one of these at home, be sure you're giving it plenty of sunlight so its colors can shine.

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Aloe vera What plant's leaves would you pluck if you need soothing relief for itchy, dry, even sunburned skin?
Jojoba
Lemon balm
Aloe vera
If you don't have an aloe plant growing at home, go out and get one now! Aside from easing minor burns and cuts, aloe vera plants are great for purifying the air in your home. These sun-loving plants help clear formaldehyde and benzene, which can come from cleaners and paints.
Ginseng

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Zig-zag cactus What cactus is also known as the fishbone cactus?
Rat tail cactus
Queen of the night
Fishhook Senecio
Zig-zag cactus
Now, this would be a fun addition to your home garden or indoor collection. The zig-zag cactus is part of the night blooming cactus family, and when it does flower you can expect pretty, colorful pink blooms. But keep in mind, these do only bloom at night, and potentially only once a year, so don't miss it when they do!

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Chinese money plant Which of these plants is named for its leaves' resemblance to coins?
Lucky bamboo
Chinese money plant
Yet another increasingly popular plant to grow at home, the Chinese money plant came to Europe via a Norwegian missionary in 1946. Because of this, it is also known as the Chinese missionary plant. You may know it by its proper name, Pilea peperomioides.
Devil's ivy
Pachira money tree

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Peacock plant The markings on the leaves of this plant determine what it is called. What would you call this one?
Rose painted calathea
Rattlesnake plant
Zebra plant
Peacock plant
You can see the peacock pattern, right? As part of the Calathea family, the peacock plant truly stands out among others (just like the zebra plant or rattlesnake plant) with its unique markings. This particular species is challenging to grow at home, though, and it will only grow to about 2 feet with proper care.

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Lipstick echeveria Looking for that right shade of red? Which is the correct name for this vibrant succulent?
Lipstick hoya
Lipstick echeveria
A lot of people out there rock a signature red lip — now you can have a signature red plant! You can find these in varying saturation of red, with some that are brightly colored all over, others that are green with red tips.
Lipstick ficus
Lipstick bromeliad

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Mint A favorite herb for many, and for many reasons — which plant do these leaves belong to?
Thyme
Basil
Mint
For those who appreciate a good herb garden, mint is one of those you should not leave out. With all of its uses and health benefits, it's a no-brainer! What's best is that once these start to grow, there's no stopping them.
Rosemary

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Staghorn fern A huge variety of ferns grows throughout the world, but none quite like this one. What is its name?
Staghorn fern
There are so many ferns in the world that an entire quiz could be dedicated to all the different species! Still, the staghorn fern stands out as unique, with its distinctively shaped leaves that resemble animal horns.
Maidenhair fern
Elkhorn fern
Sword fern

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Monstera deliciosa Which plant is also known as the Swiss cheese plant?
Pothos
Philodendron
Dracaena
Monstera deliciosa
Monstera deliciosa, or the Swiss cheese plant, has quickly become another favored household plant, often seen in blogs and interior design publications. What draws people most is the way the plant's leaves split as it matures.

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Rabbit succulent What name best describes the animal this succulent's leaves resemble?
Dolphin
Calico kitten
Octopus
Rabbit
Aren't these so cute? Rabbit succulents, aka Monilaria obconica, do eventually grow into (or out of) their ears as they mature, but as each newly formed sprout appears, you can count on it first looking like an adorable bunny rabbit.

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Pencil cactus What is the name of this spindly cactus that is swiftly becoming a popular houseplant?
Eve's pin cactus
Jumping cholla cactus
Monkey's tail cactus
Pencil cactus
This unique cactus has quickly become a staple for plant lovers and aspiring jungle owners. While this is a super fun addition to any collection, especially since it grows so quickly, do be aware of its toxic milky sap when handling this plant.

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Life saver plant The cactus-like foliage seen here surrounds a flower that inspires a rather iconic nickname. Can you guess what this plant is?
Lifesaver plant
Now, this is a unique-looking plant! While its leaves would lead you to believe it is of the cactus family, it is actually a milkweed plant. This is a super easy plant to manage, and it can be grown successfully by green thumbs of all levels.
Golden barrel cactus
Persian carpet flower
Stargazer lily

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Palm tree Which tree will provide you with both shade and material to weave a basket?
Yucca tree
Joshua tree
Palm tree
Palm trees are a neat type of plant. Some species grow coconuts; others have leaves that are strong enough to be used for many things, from basketweaving to building material (say, for fences) to fuel.
Dragon tree

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Welwitschia Some plants among us are considered to be living fossils. Can you name the leafy one shown here?
Yew
Cycad
Ephedra
Welwitschia
This plant can only be found in the deserts of Namibia and Angola; any close relatives have gone extinct. Carbon dating puts this plant at being able to live up to 2,000 years, and even in all of that time, it will only grow two leaves that tatter with age.

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Dracaena reflexa Pleomele is another name for which species of Dracaena?
Dracaena cinnabari
Dracaena angustifolia
Dracaena fragrans
Dracaena reflexa
The Dracaena reflexa is one of the more ornamental species of Dracaena. Its bright green leaves and thick stems are highly valued, and its slow-growth patterns are perfect for any tabletop or plant stand.

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Devil's ivy This plant gets its name from being nearly impossible to kill. Do you know what it is?
Devil's ivy
Devil's ivy does not have any sort of superstition, lore or legend behind its name; it merely reflects how resilient the plant is. This plant will grow in super harsh conditions and can even thrive in the dark. There's really no hurting this one!
Deadly nightshade
Wolfsbane
Superstition iris

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Hoya hearts Which succulent is also known as the sweetheart plant?
Anthurium
Hoya kerrii
The Hoya kerrii succulent is also known as the sweetheart plant, and it can be found either as a single clipping of one heart leaf or as a full plant. There's no doubt that this plant sells out like crazy around Valentine's Day.
Cyclamen
Heartleaf philodendron

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Pineapple Of the Bromeliad family, which one produces food we can eat?
Silver vase plant
Pineapple
If it is surprising that pineapple plants belong to the Bromeliad family, you may be interested to learn that a common ingredient in meat tenderizer, called bromelain, is taken from pineapple stems. Some plants in the Bromeliad family are grown as showy houseplants.
Tillandsia
Guzmania

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African mask plant This super unique plant is often referred to as elephant ears. Can you choose another popular name for it?
Heart of Jesus
New Guinea shield
Giant taro
African mask plant
Many names are attached to this plant, including Alocasia and the Kris plant. However, the African mask plant is an interesting name, as it does not actually come from Africa, but rather, the Philippines. This nickname took hold because the plant's leaves resemble African hand-carved ceremonial masks.

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Coral cactus Grafted succulents form which beautiful plant that might seem at home in the ocean?
Coral succulent
Coral verbena
Coral cactus
The coral cactus is not a cactus at all — it is a "Franken-plant" made up of two succulents grafted together. The graceful ruffled fan on top may be white, green, yellow, red or purple. Be careful — the coral cactus is known for its poisonous sap.
Coral perennial

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Bird's nest fern Which of these fern names could also be used to describe unkempt hair?
Horsetail fern
Maidenhair fern
Wire fern
Bird's nest fern
Aren't plant names fun? The bird's nest fern can typically be found growing on buildings or trees, but what inspires its name is that the crown in the middle of the plant looks exactly like a bird's nest. Wouldn't be surprised to see a family of birds hanging out in one!

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Cordyline Can you name this plant that has a wide range of leafy colors, thanks to its tropical origin?
Ti plant
Cordyline
Cordylines are the perfect pop of color for any garden; you can find these in numerous shades of greens, yellows, oranges, reds and pinks, purples, and creams and whites. Even their leaf shape and size can vary, depending on whether the species is from Hawaii, South America, Asia or Australia.
Garden croton
Rainbow dracaena

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Wandering Jew Can you pick the plant with a name as memorable as the coloring of its leaves?
Wandering Jew
So, this houseplant has a bit of a heavy legacy. Its name refers to the legend of a Jewish man who scoffed at Jesus as he was carrying his cross to be crucified. The man was then cursed to wander the Earth until Jesus' second coming.
Peace lily
Purple heart
Spiderwort

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