Montana State University

Schutter Diagnostic Lab

Montana State University
119 Plant BioScience Bldg
P.O. Box 173150
Bozeman, MT 59717-3150

Tel: (406) 994-5150
Fax: (406) 994-7600
Location: 121 Plant BioScience Bldg

Plant Identification

Diagnostic and Identification Services

What to collect:

1. Short grasses, small flowering herbaceous plants, low shrubs: Collect several (at least three if possible) ENTIRE plants, including roots, plus extra flowers and/or fruits if available. Clean debris and soil from roots before shipping.
2. Tall grasses and shrubs, herbaceous forbs, trees, long vines: Collect several samples that adequately show stem features, leaves and leaf arrangement, and flowers and/or fruits. Collect extra flowers and/or fruits if available. If possible, collect or provide information about underground parts, ie. roots, rhizomes, bulbs, tubers, etc.
3. Record collection data and include State, County, geographic location of collection site, and date. This information is important to the identification process. Please remember to fill out a separate Plant Identification Form or Aquatic Plant ID form for each plant specimen/species submitted for identification.

How to care for and prepare collected specimens:

1. Plant specimens may be put directly into a plant press in the field or later, and submitted as a dried and pressed specimen.
2. Plant specimens may be submitted "fresh" (not dried or pressed) and are best collected directly into a closed or ziplock-type plastic bag WITHOUT EXTRA MOISTURE and kept in a refrigerator until being shipped.
3. When there is no alternative, dried specimens may be submitted. Genus and species identification may not be possible with these samples.


1. Plant identification Form needs to be filled out for each species/specimen submitted for identification. Extension Agents: use the Plant Diagnostic Information System (PDIS) to submit specimen information and remember to send the specimen with the form (please enclose the plant form within a protective covering. Package the specimen to minimize potential damage from mail handling (place dried specimens between pieces of cardstock or cardboard within the outer package. A box is a preferable mailing container to an envelope.
2. Please send packages to the address in the left navigation bar.