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### Mini FAQ for sci.bio.botany # 011 ###
A mini "Frequently Asked Questions" for sci.bio.botany
This is an unmonitored ("feral") NG that is irregular in all other respects
as well, foremost in the frequency of postings. The topic is botany, in all
its aspects, but excluding topics covered in other newsgroups, such as
gardening, cooking with plants, education about plants, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions include:
Can someone ID this flower?
Can someone ID this fruit?
Can someone ID this leaf?
But questions are posed in a very wide range of topics ("Is there such a
thing as a walking palm?", "I am stuck in my lab procedure for a ADP-Glucose
Pyrophosphorylase Assay, please help!", "What is the Classic Greek word for
birch?", etc). Some people think this NG knows everything there is to know
about plants! For an in-depth impression see the archives at
Many questions of a general nature can be answered by consulting the
archives or just a search engine (a frequent question is "I have this school
project. Can someone write my paper for me?" with the standard response:
Since this is a slow NG (in numbers of postings per week) great tolerance is
observed when dealing with some fringe figures, who post anonimously. Their
tag will become apparent quickly to even the most casual of observers.
Responding to them is done at one's own risk. Logic does not help.
Fortunately this NG is not being hit by 'real trolls', only minor pests. By
putting anybody who cross-posts (to three or more groups) in a killfile what
trolling there is disappears quickly and without ill effects (something that
is crossposted will hardly ever be worth reading, and those who engage in
crossposting will hardly ever have something worthwhile to contribute).
GLOSSARY & WEBDIRECTORY:
Plantfinder at http://www.rhs.org.uk/rhsplantfinder/
This is a directory of names of plants offered for sale in the UK. Standards
are pretty high, both as concerns correct spelling and currency of names.
A lively-looking site with a database of cultivated plants is at:
This also offers pictures. How are standards?
GRIN at http://www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/tax/taxecon.html
Well-kept database of economically important plants.
TROPICOS (or W3TROPICOS) at
This is a list of current names maintained at the Missouri Botanical
Gardens. It is to be kept in mind that this is a work in progress, with
quality and coverage varying, being especially good in areas where the
Missouri Botanical Gardens is active.
IPNI at www.ipni.org, www.uk.ipni.org or www.us.ipni.org
Basically this is a list of all scientific names of vascular plants ever
published, in the form they were published. It is not complete (names below
the rank of species were indexed in only one of the component indexes, until
recently) and the names listed are not necessarily spelled correctly by
A checklist for US plants:
More US plant data:
Multilingual lists of common names:
It is in the nature of things that Systems of Taxonomic
Classification change whenever new techniques of research become available,
yielding new information. The APG-system (based on two chloroplast genes,
supported by a gene with a ribosomal function) stepped forward first in 1993
(in modest form) and was published in full glory in 1998, with APG II being
published in 2003. It made a big impression quickly. APG is an abbreviation
(Angiosperm Phylogeny Group), indicating the group of scientists
collaborating in this venture.
A brief overview of the APG system can be found at
The APG itself has an extensive website at:
There also is a system book, "Plant Systematics, a phylogenetic
approach", now in its second edition (2002).
The previous well-accepted system, now starting to be displaced by
APG but still going strong in many places, is that by Arthur Cronquist
(1919-1992). A popular system book based on the Cronquist System is
"Flowering Plants of the World" by Heywood (latest news is that Heywood is
rewriting to conform to APG). The standard reference on plant taxonomy, The
Plant-book by D.J.Mabberley, also uses a version of Cronquist, but the next
edition (2006?) will use APG.
The Tree of Life for land plants:
ICBN, the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature at
is the Code regulating scientific plant names
Many databases of taxonomic data have been brought into DELTA and are at
such as plant family descriptions at
Pictures of California wildflowers at
Pictures of plants, by a botanist based on Hawaii:
Just stunning pictures:
Pictures of trees (Northeast of US):
Pictures of trees (Southeast of US):
Pictures of trees (Southwest of US):
A simple key for trees is at:
Some popular tropical trees:
giving a great deal of detail
Canadian alien invaders:
A field trip in West Texas:
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