Projects, Contests & Activities

For additional information, consult the project chairperson: Greg Stack; 11855 Archer Avenue; Lemont, IL 60439; Phone: 630 685-2355; Fax: 630 257-2088;Email:

Horticulture Identification and Judging Contest


The production, marketing and buying of fruit, vegetable, flower and ornamental crops requires a detailed knowledge of many subject matter disciplines. This contest is a training program concerned with teaching youth to recognize and identify some of the most important horticultural crops, to learn criteria influencing quality and to be able to answer questions and solve problems relating to the art and science of horticulture.

Rules and Regulations

Greg Stack
University of Illinois Extension
11855 Archer Ave.
Lemont, IL 60439
Phone 630 685-2355
Fax: 630 257-2088

A. The contest has seven (7) divisions.

  1. 4-H Team (age 15-20) - 3 or 4 individuals
  2. FFA team(s) (age 15-20) - 3 or 4 individuals
  3. Open Team(s) (age 15-18) - 3 or 4 individuals
  4. Open Team(s) (age 19-22) - 3 or 4 individuals
  5. Open Individual(s) (age 15-18)
  6. Open Individual(s) (age 19-22)
  7. Honors -- open to individuals who have placed first in any division either as an individual or as a team.

B. Contestants who have previously placed first (Grand National Award Winner) or been a member of a first place team in the 4-H, FFA, or Open Divisions will participate in the Honors Division.

C. The top individual in the Honors Division is automatically ineligible for further competition.

D. Special 4-H rules:

  1. Only teams of three or four members may compete.
  2. Individuals who have previously competed in any division of this contest at the national level are ineligible to compete in the 4-H division.
  3. College students who have completed two or more terms or semesters of college; or who have competed in collegiate events of a similar nature or similar subject matter are not eligible to compete in the 4-H division.

E. Coaches and other individuals not competing in the contest will not be allowed in the contest room while the contest is being conducted. After the last paper has been turned in the contest room will be open for observation and photography of the identification and judging sections. Answers will placed on the entries.

F. Entry Deadline: September 23. Consult with your leader for additional information.

Contest Format

The horticulture contest consists of three sections (Judging - 80 points, Identification - 200 points (250 for honors) and Horticultural Knowledge - 160 points) giving a total point score of 440 points (490 for honors).


Eight classes of four (4) plates each will be judged on the basis of condition, quality, uniformity, true-to-type, and size. Two classes will be taken from the list of four commodity groups to be identified/judged (fruits and nuts, vegetables and herbs, flowering and indoor plants and woody ornamentals). Plates in each class will be ranked from first to last. Scores will be determined by a Hormel calculator. Oral reasons will not be required of contestants.


Eighty (80) objective questions (true-false and multiple choice) will be taken from information in this study manual and on this section of the website. Questions will test the contestant's knowledge of cultural practices for horticultural crops, plant science, pesticides, horticultural careers and other topics related to the production, processing and consumption of horticultural crops.


One hundred samples (100) will make up the third segment of the contest. Twenty-five (25) samples will be taken from each of the four (4) commodity groups. These commodity groups will be separated onto different tables and the participant will have a complete list of all items which could potentially appear. Specimens may be alive or preserved plant parts such as, but not limited to: stems, twigs, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots, bulbs, tubers, or plant products. A list of appropriate plant parts follows later in this chapter.

Participants in the honors division of the contest will identify 25 additional specimens. The specimens will come from all four groups and will not be segregated by category (randomly mixed).


Up to 5 teams and 10 individuals may receive medals based on the number of entries in each division. The top individual and team will receive gold medals; second place when awarded will receive silver medals; and any other placements awarded will receive copper medals. The top team in each division will also receive a plaque.

Top individuals in each of the divisions may also be eligible for a cash prize when available. The highest overall scoring individual of all the divisions is also eligible for a monetary prize in years that monies for such are available.

Award Sponsor:
NJH Alumni Association
%Martha Caudill
978 Mountain Road
York Springs, PA 17372
Phone: 717 713-0262

Horticulture Identification and Juding Contest Contents