Identification of lifeform (or Growth Form) is the simplest field-based assessment of vegetation type. In simple classification terms lifeform can be categorized as trees, shrubs, grasses and herbs, ferns, lichens and mosses. The characterisation of lifeforms is done visually and based on simple morphological and physiological characteristics such as structure, form, habits. These characteristics reflect the life-history of the vegetation.

Trees are perennial plants with woody trunk that support branches and leaves. Shrubs are also woody and perennial plants but are distinguished from trees by shorter height (generally under 6m) and multiple stems. Herbs are small leafy plants without woody stem. They are dicotyledonous. Grasses cover members of graminoid families. Herbs and grasses can be annual or perennial.