Floral analysis identifies the different seeds and nuts found in flotation light fractions. The seeds and nuts can tell us about the environment around the site, and what plant foods were eaten. Other plants may have been collected for baskets, medicines, or other purposes.
In the Midwestern United States, usually the only plant remains that survive in archaeological sites were charred, or burnt, as in a campfire. Unburned materials decayed but the charred materials have survived. Charred seeds retain their original shape and size and many other features and can still be identified as to the kind of plant. Sorting plant remains is usually done under a microscope due to the small size of the seeds.