Knowing where a plant growsóits natural habitatóhelps you to recognize and find it. Some plants can grow in more than one habitat, but there are others that, for example, like open, sunny meadows or lawns. These are usually the smallest plants. If they were tall, you wouldn't be in a meadow (if an area is full of tall plants, then it isn't a meadow), you'd be in an overgrown field, thicket, or forestóother important habitats.
How much water there is, and whether the water is fresh or salty, makes a big difference to the habitat. Some plants love the sandy soil of fields or dunes near the seashore. Others grow along rivers or lakes. There are different kinds of wetlands, with different plants. Swamps are wetlands with trees; marshes are wetlands with grasses. Bogs are wetlands with acidic soil, where dead leaves pile up faster than they can decay. In some places this makes the ground so springy that you can jump and make the earth bounce along with you. That's called a quaking bog.
One place where you shouldn't forage is the partially-sunny, disturbed soil near a busy street or highway. Lead and other pollutants can get into the soil and be absorbed by plantsí roots. You can collect, study, photograph, or draw pictures of plants from these habitats, just donít eat them. Anything within 50 feet of heavy traffic may be contaminated. Also, plants growing along railroad right-of-ways are often sprayed with toxic herbicides. The same plants usually also grow in cleaner environments, so simply look for them elsewhere.