Help and manuals

How to add a species in identification key?

online plant identification guide
Identification of plants

What information is needed to include a species in the identification guide?

In order to add a species to the plant identification guide, it is necessary that the species in the database be supplied with

  1. a representative set of photos from which you can clearly imagine the appearance of the plant;
  2. a list of the most common, as well as those found in the scientific literature, Russian-language names;
  3. a collection of links to web resources containing botanical descriptions of the species;
  4. a set of key traits (features of appearance, life form, ecology, etc.) by which the species can be found in the identification guide.

Who can include species in the identification guide?

Decision about the readiness of the species to be included in the plant identification guide is made by one of the site moderators. However, this does not mean that you cannot contribute to expanding the set of species included in the identification guide. If you have a desire, you can at any time start collection and entering information (names, links, key traits) required to include a species into the set of identifiable taxa.

Where can you enter key traits for a species?

To manage a set of key traits, there is a special page "Key traits" for each taxon. Links to such pages are available in many places, for example:

  • in the menu "Edit" on the left pane of pages "Taxon details", "List of subtaxa", "Russian names", "Set of images" etc.;
  • in the menu that appears when you click on the taxon name in the list of results on the "Search for taxa" page;
  • in the context menus that appear when you right-click on a taxon name in the "Taxonomy" section on various pages;
  • in the context menus that appear when you right-click on a taxon name in the list on the "List of subtaxa" page.

These menu items are visible, and the "Key traits" page is available only to project participants viewing the site in an authorized mode. The only exceptions are the pages of the taxa added to the plant identification guide; only the site moderators have access to them.

Which species should be processed to include in the identification guide first?

The reason for including the species in the identification guide is the accumulation of a large number of images of plants belonging to this taxon. In particular, this indicates that such plants are often seen, which means that the opportunity to recognize this plant will be in high demand.

Where to get information on key traits?

The main source of information for the formation of sets of key traits are web resource pages containing botanical descriptions of the species. In the absence or incompleteness of those, it is possible (and necessary!) to refer to the botanical descriptions contained in the old botanical books ("Flora of the USSR", etc.).

So before you start specifying the key traits of a taxon, you should create a collection of links to web resources. Thus, you will provide yourself with sources of information about the characteristic features of the species and along the way will be able to replenish the set of its Russian names.

VERY IMPORTANT notes and recommendations

Make sure that none of the key trait sections that apply to the species are missing
For example, if the trait Leaves/Plate/Subdivision/Absent does not indicated for a species, then when selecting species with entire leaves, users of the identification guide will never find this species. Therefore, be extremely careful!
If a trait manifests itself in a species in different ways, all possible cases should be indicated
For example, if the pubescence is adpressed on the upper surface of the leaf, and protruding on the lower surface, then both trait must be specified. The same applies to doubtful cases. For example, if it is impossible to clearly decide whether dense pubescence or scattered, then it is better to indicate both variants.
Rely on different sources whenever possible
Botanical descriptions given in different books and on different sites may differ and complement each other. Very often, different authors describe the parts of plants in different ways, which means that the shape, size and color can be perceived and interpreted by different people in different ways. Consequently, for the plant identification guide to work successfully, it should include the fullest possible range of variants for key traits.
If the available botanical descriptions do not contain clear characteristics, replenish them based on the available images and personal experience
For example, descriptions do not always contain all possible descriptions of the type of stem, but you know that it can be either erect or ascending or creeping. In this case indicate all these traits. If the botanical descriptions contain nothing but an indication of the fact that the stem is pubescent, look for the pictures on Google and select the appropriate traits yourself in pairs "dense - scattered", "protruding - adpressed", "soft - hard".
Indicate not only are the "botanically correct" traits, but those that might be mistakenly associated with the taxon
Not all "Plantarium" users have good botanical training, which means that many of them may misinterpret the morphological features of plants. Nevertheless, it is necessary that the plant identification guide be available to the widest possible range of users: professionals will find a species by the "correct" traits, and those who made common mistakes by the "wrong" ones.
Common cases of misinterpretation of plant morphology are listed below. In these cases, along with the really existing ones, it is necessary to indicate the "apparent" traits.
  • Subshrubs and dwarf subshrubs - perennial herbs.
  • Strongly dissected simple leaves - compaund leaves.
  • Flower-like (pseudanthium) and compact (capitula, head, ear, catkin) inflorescences - flowers (this affects the estimation of the size and number of petals).
  • Cones - fruits (the consistency and color of these organs should be indicated in the "Fruits" section).

If you have any questions about the key traits, feel free to contact the site administrator.

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