Using the Internet wisely to search for plants!

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by photopro, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    At best, without the involvement of the ISP, most of these could only be tracked down to a particular city with ~98% accuracy (if a commercial ISP is being used). It is sometimes possible to track down to a particular institution (e.g., educational institutions or some workplaces), or in the case of my IP address at work, directly to my office.
     
  2. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I suppose. But I have absolutely no way of knowing who asked the question. The system indicates a generalized area of the country, or world, but nothing specific. All I see is the search term. I use the system in an attempt to better answer the questions people are asking of the search engines.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    If you don't know who asked the question, how do you get the answer back to them??
     
  4. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Actually, all I can do is attempt to rewrite certain pages in a way the question is answered (assuming I can find the answer). That way, if they search again, or someone else asks a similar question, there will be some sort of answer on the net. People do ask some strange questions though! Today, someone asked if there was a plant that did not use chlorophyll. I'm researching that one now! Anyone know?
     
  5. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Monotropa spp. for one.
     
  6. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Eric! I'll look that one up.
     
  7. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Rafflesia for another

    And some species of Arceuthobium dwarf mistletoes
     
  9. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Man, I learn something new every day on this board!
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Quite a few orchids too; Corallorhiza, Epipogium and Neottia spring to mind.
     
  11. levilyla

    levilyla Active Member

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    "Which planet would we weigh the least?" This is a trick question even
    though it recognizes that "weight" is different from mass so it depends
    on the mass of the planet and its radius (eg. its density). A year ago,
    I would have said Pluto because of its low mass and
    low density. But Pluto is no longer considered a classical planet.
    Today without thinking I would have said Mercury because I think it has
    the next lowest mass. But I looked it up on
    Wikipedia to make sure. And it is Mars, beating out Mercury by 1 part
    in 300. So I guess that Mercury is more dense, having driven off its
    water by being so
    close to the Sun.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weight
     
  12. Francis Eric

    Francis Eric Member

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    Im going to have to read more of this post.
    since Im not good at searching in th e internet.

    I wanted to say that On rare occasions
    Somtimes the latin name(even common plants) will waste your time.
    I was searching to see if a lichen is edible using the latin name for a long time.
    when I used lichen edible I found it right away
     
  13. lainie

    lainie Member

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    Interesting thread--wanted to add my 2 cents.

    I have to admit I've always been rather computer savvy but know it doesn't always come easy for some so I like to give them a break.

    I will say that often times I enter searches in weird bizzare funny sentence ways. Why would I do such a thing? Well, if I enter something logically, I always end up with the same results and always in the same order and sometimes what's currently en vogue and not what I'm really looking for. So, by entering my search in a strange illogical format, I can find what I really want or that offbeat website that has something different and something I wouldn't normally find--or at least something other than the first 50 same links you get all the time. And sometimes when you ask something in a dumb question format, you get a wonderful link to a interesting forum where someone else has asked the same dumb question and lo and behold, the exact resolution you needed.

    Now about your quick hits--I myself am probably one of those but sometimes its just because I saw something on a website and just as quickly forgot the info or just need to remember something (i.e., the scientific name or spelling) or which website it was I wanted to add to my favorites.

    It has to be difficult to know how to present a website for any varieties of seekers to understand how to drill down to get to the info--I for one, like certain layouts and want certain info in certain formats. So, even if you have the info, maybe someone else has it presented in "my style". Doesn't mean yours isn't just wonderful (what is your website anyway?)(nevermind, I just hit the link and am going to explore it a little)

    As to botanical names--quite a dilemna--any plant that I learned by it's "proper" name, I have a hard time remembering its common name. But those my granny taught me, I couldn't ever relate to them by their scientific. And many of the common names are pretty (I know, I know). Now I do get strange looks when people ask me what a plant is and I run off with Cimicifuga or Filipendula Vulgaris or Caryopteris (I honestly don't know their common name and would have to look them up), but that's how I know them, but sometimes when you do searches by only the scientific name, you end up with some bizzare results so I generally try both ways and see what I get.

    Another good thing about entering bad info is that you do end up on that weird travel site and the next thing you know you're on your way to Ecuador!

    Just my 2 cents worth.
     
  14. Dragon

    Dragon Member

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    I have been looking for some institution (or group) that can match the names of plants to their characteristics like four petaled flower, 3 whorled deltoid leaves w/ reticulate veins and serrate leaves or whatever, with the details perhaps laid out as one narrowed down the groupings.

    The Tree of Life Project or some sort of wikipedia would be a good way to do it. The Tree of Life has excellent references like that in places, but most is sadly lacking especially in the more obscure areas where such information would be the most useful.

    While most folks would not know all the terms up front, the very existence of such a layout, from the TOL to smaller groupings like Photopro's would make such education much more commonplace. Building education into descriptions would be the best cure for such Ignorance and accomplish the intent of the scientific naming in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  15. tipularia

    tipularia Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Dragon, take a look at this checklist method for plant family identification where you just check the characteristics you know and it gives you a list of possible families. LINK
     
  16. Dragon

    Dragon Member

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    That is a very good link noted and favorited, Thanks
     
  17. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Note that it only covers flowering plants, and won't work for mosses, ferns, conifers, etc.
     
  18. Dragon

    Dragon Member

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    It would be awesome just to do that, but trying several (not having flower/fruit info) I ended up with a Very long list to weed through. But at least better than before

    A step by step through the relationship tree would be still more useful and point out relationships along the way.

    **puns noted but not really intended
     
  19. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    I agree with Lainie, I sometimes use the bizarre and offbeat approach to finding info, sometimes the most logical returns such a long list that is in large part mail order type businesses and other commercially oriented sites. The oddball approach quite often leads me to newsletters, press releases, papers published in scientific gazettes, etc. (that's how I found THIS website!)

    Also, Lainie, regarding the botanical vs. the common name it's the same for me - there are some that I know the latin names for because that's the way I learned it, but for others, mostly native wildflowers I only know the common names - I'm trying to learn both ...

    Eric: Monotropa, Michael: Rafflesia - WOW! What amazing plants!

    Tipularia, thanks for the link - I think it will be useful for me not necessarily for identification purposes, but as a learning tool. Will also make me aware of leaf type shape placement etc. that I haven't really paid attention to before.. I like to learn at least one new thing a day.
     
  20. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I use the internet daily in my work. [library] When searching a catalogue for a library it is based on a formal set of rules and subject headings. The Google search is a free for all keyword search. I tend to put in the exact information if I have it to hand other wise I feed a series of relevant keywords to the topic I am looking for. A good example was the "edible lichens" above. Try and avoid "stop words" such as "an, in, on, a, the" just clogs the works up. If it is a title of something then include them but leave the first word off if for example it is THE. Also a broad search can then be narrowed down to a specific search depending on what is retrieved

    Liz
     
  21. msjs

    msjs Member

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    These days with all the waste of time advertising sites(hotfrog for one) trying to deceive you into clicking on one of their links so they make money out of you, I've switched to Google Image search. Then when I find images that look like what I want, I look at the whole site.
     
  22. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Only one word of caution. Goggle uses the primary name of the page for every photo on that page. As a result, if the page is talking about the differences in various species every single photo on that page will be captioned with the plant name at the top of the page. I know this to be factual since I maintain a large tropical plant website (over 400 pages) and even though I've embedded the correct name for every plant under the photo for Google and other search engines to find many of my photos end up on Google Images with the name of another plant on the same page. If you use Google Images be sure and thoroughly read the page as well as the captions beneath the photos.

    Also, it would be wise to double check the name on multiple websites since many people "borrow" an incorrect name from one website and perpetuate the error on their own.

    Although Google is likely the best source on the net I frequently find bad plant names on Google Images so just use caution.
     
  23. msjs

    msjs Member

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    Yes I agree, I certainly don't rely on non technical sites, but google images hasn't yet been busted by these money making sites. They really get up my nose. When I can't find the stuff I'm looking for and I hit one of these sites, I now will bash their paid links 30 or 40 times. Eventually they will start to learn NOT to put this crap up and make it easier to find stuff. Either that or Google will create a search term that allows you to remove all of these sites. I've certainly asked them for this! Using just Google, my search strings have to get so long these days with all the "-site:hotfrog.com.au" and so on terms. I often run out of terms and have to wade through pages of crap. Google images drops this completely. You get straight through to real sites.
     
  24. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    That's not surprising. What's surprising is where you learn it. I wasn't expecting to learn about plants that don't use chlorophyll in this thread. Or the World Wide Flowering Plant Family Identification page. That was cool.

    I find I have a lot of trouble searching on this site. I try to look up my answer here before posting a question, but so often I don't figure out the words to use. I just posted as an aside a query about a huge weedy thing that turned out to be Paulownia tomentosa. I tried huge weed and didn't find any of the three pages of previous postings on that plant and I knew I'd seen it here. It turns out that if I'd just queried the word "giant" I'd have found it right away, and that posting was from the day before my posting. I'm really impressed with all you people who answer the same question over and over and make it sound like it's the first time anyone ever asked such an interesting question.

     
  25. gigi9022

    gigi9022 Member

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    OMG! My son got me to computer from word processor last year/ Already had hard drive and motherboard go on my new HP laptop. You are talking to attorney specific me. I think, not only you did I drive nuts but my laptop had a nervous breakdown. Thank you for this most informative article. I hope to be more precise and more successful. Any other such info would certainly be welcomed by myself. Keep up the good work so we all will be more informed.
     

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