In recent years hyper-spectral data has been used to retrieve information about vegetative canopies such as leaf area index and canopy water content. For the environmental scientist these two parameters are valuable, but there is potentially more information to be gained as high spatial resolution data becomes available. We developed an Amoeba (Nelder-Mead or Simplex) based program to invert a vegetative canopy radiosity model coupled with a leaf (PROSPECT5) reflectance model and modeled for the background reflectance (e.g. soil, water, leaf litter) to a measured reflectance spectrum. The PROSPECT5 leaf model has five parameters: leaf structure parameter Nstru, chlorophyll a+b concentration Cab, carotenoids content Car, equivalent water thickness Cw and dry matter content Cm. The canopy model has two parameters: total leaf area index (LAI) and number of layers. The background reflectance model is either a single reflectance spectrum from a spectral library() derived from a bare area pixel on an image or a linear mixture of soil spectra. We summarize the radiosity model of a layered canopy and give references to the leaf/needle models. The method is then tested on simulated and measured data. We investigate the uniqueness, limitations and accuracy of the retrieved parameters on canopy parameters (low, medium and high leaf area index) spectral resolution (32 to 211 band hyperspectral), sensor noise and initial conditions.