Search for IDs by characteristics

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by wcutler, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Every now and then I come across a website that provides a search for plant ID by ticking the known characteristics, but then I lose my reference to the site. If anyone knows of such sites, could you post links here? They should not be too specific to a small region. The point is that they should not use a binary elimination process, where if you don't know the answer to the first question asked, you're out. It seems like such an obvious need - for instance, to look for plants with a certain unusual leaf shape. It should be easy. Search engine hits are for various reasons just frustrating (this was discussed at great length in the forum posting Using the Internet wisely to search for plants!) and seem even more so lately. If you want to discuss the reason for that, please do it in that thread. I'd like to see not too much discussion but some good links here.

    I'll start with one cited in the thread mentioned above: World Wide Flowering Plant Family Identification page.
     
  2. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Wendy, read your post and thought of Botany in a Day---The Patterns Method of Plant Identification, Thomas J. Elpel's Herbal Field Guide to the Plant Families of North America.

    Here is this page from the related website---was interested to see that your link appears thereon!
    http://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/wlinks.htm
     
    Anne Kivari likes this.
  3. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    togata, that page has lots of options for searches, so it's useful to have, though only the one I already knew seems to be the kind of search I'm seeking. But I did just order the book! Thanks for posting that.
     
  4. Andrey Zharkikh

    Andrey Zharkikh Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Colby College’s feature selection approach is, of course, better in sense that you don't have to go along each branch when you don't have an answer. The bad thing, however, is that you have to deal with TOO many features, mostly irrelevant to your plant. A more flexible, intermediate approach would be great, when selection of one feature eliminates all irrelevant options. But this is a huge programming work. What would be feasible is having a digitized version of FNA combined with a google-like search engine. Dream on!

    By the way, Colby College probably did not like too much attention and closed for now.
     
  5. SusanDunlap

    SusanDunlap Active Member

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  6. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Thanks, Susan. That's what I mean by losing track of the sites. I was able to log on to that site, so I obviously have been there before. Thanks for citing it here.

    Andrey, yes, being able to start anywhere in an elimination scheme would be great.

    Re: Colby, they say they'll be back this afternoon. There have only been 68 visits to this thread till now, and surely we didn't all go to the Colby site at the same time. And it's not the first time the link has appeared on this forum. It's hard to imagine we could bring down their server.
     
  7. SusanDunlap

    SusanDunlap Active Member

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    welcome.
    thanks for asking!
     
  8. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I should look at my phone apps more often. I see that I have one called Washington Wildflowers, put out by University of Washington, Burke Museum, & High Country Apps, LLC. It has a very nice Search by Characteristics, offering options to select Growth Habit, Main Flower Color, Flowering Period, Region, Habitat, Leaf Arrangement, Leaf Type, Growth Duration and Origin (Native or Introduced). It has 870 plants.
    http://www.burkemuseum.org/info/press_browse/wildflower_app_pr

    But it's just Washington and just wildflowers.
     
  9. Saxon281

    Saxon281 New Member

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  10. Saxon281

    Saxon281 New Member

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    The worldwide flowering plant family identification that wcutler linked to is fantastic. I can find multiple sites for identifying wildflowers, which is a lot of what i've been doing, but i have a yard full of plants left by the previous homeowner that i haven't been able to identify. This including some plants of exotic and expensive origin. So hopefully i can expand the variety included in my knowledge base.
     
  11. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Saxon281, the links you gave were exactly the kind of online search I'm looking for, but for more than wildflowers! Thanks for posting those.
     
  12. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I somehow came upon another thread on which I made the comment that what I was looking for there should be added to the Resources page (Links/Downloads, on the top navigation bar) for PNW Native Plants Resources.

    I've just added a link to Pacific Northwest Wildflowers (thanks to Nadia for telling me about it). Here, I wasn't really looking for wildflowers or specifically PNW, but the advanced search on that site is like what I'm looking for.
     
  13. SusanDunlap

    SusanDunlap Active Member

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    Wendy,

    We recently re-furbished and revised the software at http://www.aerulean.com/?selected_category_ids=&image_type=general&page=1&name_id=
    I do hope you will take a look... and let me know what you think?

    Susan Dunlap
    www.findplants.net
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2015
  14. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Yes, that's exactly the idea. Thanks. I'll keep that in mind next time I want an ID to see how it works.
     
  15. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I just came across the UK Wildflower Finder Website search page. They have a lot more categories than just wildflowers, including trees, shrubs, grasses, ferns, several more. There are a lot of characteristics you can tick or select, including type of smell! But not leaf shape - most of the characteristics are about the flowers. The individual plant pages have a lot of photos of habit, leaves, flowers front and back, fruits.
     
  16. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Here is a Key to Neotropical Flowering Plant Families from Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. I have to click the HERE link to access an alternative version on the CBIT website.

    It hasn't helped me yet* identify one of the postings in this forum that interests me, but it does narrow down a search to likely families, and you can tick whatever characteristics you know.

    It's so frustrating that there does not seem to be, or I haven't found, a botanical search that only checks pages that have one species or even genus per page, so that if you enter several characteristics, it will find plants that have all those characteristics instead of pages with plants that have one of the characteristics each.

    * Edited: I have to take that back. This was the thread, and the Kew key results did include the family Urticaceae; the tree I think might be right was included on the photo page for that family. Here is Kew's Image Database:
    http://www.kew.org/science/tropamerica/imagedatabase/index.html.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  17. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Here is another interactive key, which I have not tried, the Delta int-key app, which you can read about at http://delta-intkey.com/angio/index.htm. I have not tried it. It requires the java run-time environment to be installed, so I have to check out what that is and whether I have it.
     
  18. TheScarletPrince

    TheScarletPrince Member

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    It's no problem, just the java runtime environment. You can download it at java.com
     
  19. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Well, I was trying to give the new Edge browser a chance, and it doesn't support plug-ins and therefore will not run Java (says on the Java website). I guess I'll go back to Firefox for the forums and these keys.

    OK, I've installed Java, downloaded the IntKey32 file from Delta, which it says is the only one of its programs that will run on a 64-bit operating system, and clicked it to run but nothing happens. If someone figures out how to use this thing, send easy instructions. Their website says "The Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) is currently rewriting the programs so that they will run under several operating systems. More information is available on DELTA-L." So maybe a new improved version will be coming along.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  20. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    In another thread, forum user bjo posted a link to Flora-On | Flora de Portugal: http://www.flora-on.pt/. It's a wonderful website, easy to use even with no knowledge of Portuguese. It offers a screenful at a time of good-sized clear photos, organized by family, with some interactive key capability. And there is an interactive key. It says beta, and is now very biased toward flower characteristics. I hope they will add leaf characteristics. :)
     
  21. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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  22. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I just came across Oregon State University Department of Horticulture's Woody Plant identification system, at Plant Identification System.
    It came up as a hit when I put some characteristics into Google to figure out a shrub I saw today. I ticked the boxes and got the name of the plant I was trying to ID. Since this has landscape plants fairly local to my area,
    as well as Oregon native plants, it's exactly what I was looking for.

    The Landscape Plants website is at Oregon State Univ., LANDSCAPE PLANTS for the alphabetical list by genus, or
    Barabit's Star European Silver Fir , Oregon State Univ., LANDSCAPE PLANTS for the alphabetical list by common name.

    They say they have a mobile app, but I finally found a comment that it's under development.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2016
  23. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I was reading about what turns out to be an introduced plant at a campground in Whatcom County, WA, and it was the details page for a Finnish site (in English), with a link at the bottom that says: "Identify species based on their characteristics!". The search subjects include, flowers, trees and shrubs, birds, butterflies, and fishes. The tab shows NatureGate, though the website name is in Finnish, and they have an app in the iTunes store.
    NatureGate
    I didn't actually manage to get to my starting page when I first tried the search, but I did when I only entered three characteristics and then browsed those results.

    Location selections are only in Finland, but I recognized a lot of the names.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016

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