Eventually we hope to write an assisted search facility that allows you to answer questions about an unknown plant until an identification is found. We can’t commence with this project until we have a lot more species listed, so this is just a distant gleam in our eyes right now.
In the meantime, here are a few tips on using the existing search box:
|Search by name||Type any string to locate plants whose scientific name or common name(s) contain the string. (Note that “contains” means that “aster” will also find the word “eastern”.)|
|Search by location where plants were found||Enter locations such as “San Diego Zoo”, “Garden in the Woods”, ”Groton, MA”, or “AZ” to search for plants found at these locations. (If you search for a state, enter its initials in uppercase.)|
|Search for plants found naturally in a state||Enter “range AZ”, for example, to find plants whose natural range includes Arizona. The word “range” is needed to distinguish this search from the one above. Only wild plants are found by this search, since cultivars do not have a natural range.|
|Search for plants found naturally in a Canadian province||Type “range CA-NB”, for example, to find plants whose natural range includes British Columbia. Only wild plants are found by this search, since cultivars do not have a natural range.|
|Search by color||Type in a color to search for plants of that color.|
|Search by keyword||Use keywords such as “berries,” “grasses,” “fungi,” “trees,” “mosses,” ”lichens,” or “ferns” to constrain the list.|
|Search for unknowns||If you would like to help identify some of the plants we haven’t been able to identify yet, search for “unknown”—there is a reference number for each plant.|
|Search for recent changes||Enter a number to search for species that have been updated in some way within the number of days specified. “30” lists species that have been updated within the last 30 days.|
|Search by copyright holder||Enter the name of a copyright holder or photographer to search for photos taken by that person.|
We are making increasing use of comparison tables within some of the pages as an aid to determining the exact species from a group of related choices. Sometimes we place these tables on “genus pages.” For example, Acer is a genus that includes maple trees. The Acer page compares all of the Acer species currently in our database.
Often, though, the genus contains too many species, or similar-looking plants are not members of the same genus. In this case, we sometimes use comparison pages on the species pages. See, for example, hop clover.