Scott's Botanical Links--June 2005


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Past links:

June 30, 2005 - ePIC: Electronic Plant Information Center
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have assembled a wealth of data in the ePIC site -- a major resource discovery project that provides a single point of search across all Kew's major specimens, bibliographic and taxonomic databases on the Internet as well. The following databases may be seleted: Plant names (IPNI), Bibliographies, Kew Records, Library Catalogues, Micromorphology bibliographies, Collections, Herbarium Catalogues, Economic Botany collections, Living collections, Species-level information, the Flora of Zambesiaca and much more. (***1/2) -SR
June 29, 2005 - Sticky Situation Desert Site
Sticky Situation Desert Growers have over 2000 species of cactus and an equal number of other spiny xerophytic plants. Although the nursury, the growers and the show schedule may be interesting to some, it was the Plant Gallery that caught my eye. If you have broadband, I would suggest clicking on 'Full Plant Index (very big!)' and see the wealth of thumbnail images displayed. This site is a great one for looking at xerophytes, desert adaptations or confirming identifications. Jana Sweets and Kim Joyiens are the Sticky Situation Desert Growers; the facility is located in the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. (***) -SR
June 28, 2005 - M. Blinnikov's Phytolith Gallery
Silica phytoliths are plant inclusions made of silicon dioxide that is deposited inside cells--in essence, glass inside plants, with a wealth of characteristic distinct shapes and sizes. These are found in plants ranging from horsetails to gymnosperms, to flowering plants. Phytoliths are not unusual and collecting them is often a matter of archaeology, as they are often all that is left of long dead plants. This site has numerous images of phytoliths using light and scanning electron microscopy, listed by form and species. It is easy to see why lawn mower blades may need frequent resharpening when you see how much glass is in grass! Site by Mikhail Blinnikov, Department of Geography, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. (***) -SR
June 27, 2005 - UTEX Culture Collection of Algae
The UTEX Culture Collection of Algae maintains living and frozen collections of over 3200 algae that may be ordered from the University of Texas and grown in your lab. There are also about 150 collections in the Extreme Environment Alga Collection, which include cultures from Antarctica, the Gobi desert and other extreme environments. Specimens may be browsed by class, genus or culture number. Upon request, a living culture of the requested strain will be thawed and shipped in agar. A recipe of a suitable culture medium is available online. High quality photomicrographs are available on the site, indexed by class and listed with a thumbnail images that lead to larger images. The UTEX collection is essential as an algal source for genes and organisms. (***1/2)
June 24, 2005 - Plants and their Structure - an online text
Plants and their Structure is part of a much larger online text consisting of sites that I have largely featured before. This is a mirror site apparently assembled by a consortium of Lebanese universities that have collected some of the best content sites of the web. The original sites include work by Ross Koning, Mike Farabee, images from online textbooks and Dennis Kunkel, to name just a few sources. This is a nice compilation -- perhaps convenient for homeschooling of advanced botany and for review -- and reproduced in a pleasing type style and format. -SR
June 23, 2005 - Galapagos Natural History
The Galapagos Online site has a succinct and informative site on the natural history, flora and island geography of the Galapagos Islands. Famed for their influence on Charles Darwin's developing ideas on natural selection, the Galapagos Islands are a popular ecotourist destination. The flora site describes the life zones, with particular attention to mangroves and cactuses. The island geography map is quite nice for describing the major islands. There is good information here if you follow the informational links, but the top and bottom links are essentially all commercial. (***1/2) -SR
June 22, 2005 - Sir Hans Sloane Jamaican Botanical Collection
Sir Hans Sloane was among the first to collect plants from Jamaica in 1687-1689. He collected plants and mounted them into seven hand-made, bound volumes, which now reside in the Natural History Museum (London UK). The current project photographed the set and converted them to digital form, making the data available through the Internet. The heart of the collection consists of indexed images of the collection pages themselves, conveniently indexed by collection data and browseable thumbnail images. Each image is in the 1000 x 1500 pixel range, which provides good legibility, with detailed technical notes. Site by Natural History Museum. (***1/2) -SR
June 21, 2005 - PJSE: Palmeras y Jardines en el suroeste de Europa
Palms and Gardens of Southwestern Europe is an interesting site extolling palms and Mediterranean climates, and especially Spain. This site includes information about palms and their growth habits, where they grow, climates they prefer, as well as climatic information with what is labeled a USDA map of European hardiness zones, stories about palms as holy trees, and a link to the sponsoring Palmasur garden, which is the only page offered in a language other than Spanish. If you do not know Spanish very well, you might translate the whole site using an online translation through Babelfish ( by placing the URL in the web page translation box and selecting Spanish to whatever language you prefer to see (not perfect but a very literally translated start). (***) -SR
June 20, 2005 - Careers in Agriculture
Careers in Agriculture is a site by Florida-Agriculture.Com featuring descriptions of a number of different career options in agriculture--in fact 40 of them, in plants and animals. Among these, some of the plant-oriented jobs listed are Agricultural Economist, Agricultural Engineer, Agronomist, Animal Nutritionist, Aquaculturist... and that is just the A's. Each description is written by a scientist familiar with the job, but unfortunately, no photos! Hosted by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (***) -SR
June 17, 2005 - What Tree Is That? (Arbor Day Fnd)
The Arbor Day foundation hosts two interactive keys -- one for Eastern and Central US tree identification, and one for Western trees. For those not already accustomed to dichotomous keys, where choices are made one by one, there is a glossary of relevant tree characteristics and an animation showing examples. This key is simple but powerful. Of course like all such keys, if your plant is not on the key (there is a list), you will not get the right answer, but it is still the way many botanists learn their first plants and plant terms. This one works well! (***1/2) -SR
June 16, 2005 - Seed Identification (UKy)
This site presents images and a bit of information about some common seeds. The site currently features seeds of some grasses (ryegrass, fescue, orchardgrass, barley, wheat, rye, timothy, Kentucky bluegrass), common vegetables (squash, cucumber, tomato, pepper, radish and carrot), legumes (alfalfa, sweetclover, red clover, crownvetch, soybean), and widely dispersed weeds (johnsongrass, wild onion, morning glory, curly dock, giant ragweed). Quizzes follow. Hmmmm... might be fun with the right crowd on a rainy day. (***) -SR
June 15, 2005 - Louisiana Ecosystems & Plant Identification: An Interactive Virtual Tour
This site uses the IBM iPix technology to do 360 degreee imaging of ecological sites near Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge. Images take a while to load (even on broadband); modern browsers automatically load the imaging software. About 200 plants are currently featured (look for red rectangles on the images and click); these appear in separate browser windows and are also browsable by common or scientific name, with extensive images and write-ups. Currently 15 sites are examined from: Burden Research Station, Ben Hur Forest (LSU AgCenter), LSU Hilltop Arboretum, a number of Baton Rouge parks, including the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, Highland Road Park, Perkins Road Park, Forest Park, as well as two sites in the West Feliciana Parish. There are also three sites near sponsors: State of Louisiana Capitol Grounds, LSU Life Sciences Bldg Courtyard, and LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources Bldg. This is a professionally constructed web site (very nice!), but not many words on the ecosystems, per se. (***1/2) -SR
June 14, 2005 - Electronic Statistics Textbook
The Electronic Statistics Textbook is an online statistics handbook written over the years by the makers of STATISTICA at Statsoft, Inc. at the beginning to advanced level. For completeness, I have seen no better reference, but the nice review of beginning concepts rapidly accelerates into a guide to essentially every test in the full STATISTICA package. The advantage of this text is that everything is covered, so you will have a full selection of options when you choose a statistical test. The site is well constructed with graphics and detailed examples. Writeups are sometimes dense, but at least the reader has a chance to preview some modern statistics before going to see a local statistician. (****)
June 13, 2005 - Dendrological Plant Image Gallery
This image gallery is devoted entirely to the study of trees (dendrology), and it is presented in three different languages: German, English and Spanish. The founder has an impressive garden in Northern Germany, with a list of species that is several pages long, and he has amassed an extensive collection of images that are listed by scientific names. At present, the 3228 images are linked and browsed individually. Overall, the quality of images is high, so it is one of the better tree-oriented image sites, but so far there is not much text on these plants. This site is by Gerd Seehawer, Schneverdingen, Germany. (***) -SR
June 10, 2005 - Margaret Saul's Botanical Art
Margaret Saul is an Australian-born artist who aspires to paint "works that create awareness for indigenous flora no matter where in the world I live but also to paint any plant subject that excites the creative senses." In addition to her art work, the web site also features discussions on botanical art, information on botanical art classes that she offers for beginning to advanced students and an opportunity to buy some of the art online. Images of these endemic plants are available to look at as well. -SR
June 9, 2005 - Australian Freshwater Algae (BGT)
This site on Australian Freshwater Algae presents algal diversity by a key, or through an image and morphology-based interface, or though checklists. The site includes educational information on what an algae is and does, how algae are collected and cared for; this site also discusses environmental impacts. The image files reveal a wealth of genera and species. Most of these are quite good images, but the descriptions are spotty many given taxa. A handy navigation bar on the left side of the screen simplifies finding content. Site by the BGT (Botanical Gardens Trust. (***1/2) -SR
June 8, 2005 - Botanic Gardens Trust (Sydney, Australia)
The Botanic Gardens Trust, with oversight over the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, Mount Annan Botanic Garden and Mount Tomah Botanic Garden, has a broad educational mission that is reflected in this website, which includes two scientific journals (Teleopea and Cunninghamia), a fortnightly radio show, botanical information (including specialty information on a variety of topics from Wollemi Pine to bioinformatics), foods of the aboriginal people, various plants and diseases, plant conservation, and many other topics that are well worth exploring. This is a diverse and well constructed site with beautiful images and a wealth of data by the BGT. (****) -SR
June 7, 2005 - E-Flora BC: An Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia
E-Flora BC covers the diversity of plants in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The site includes pages that explain the origin of the project, plant groups, floristics & vegetation, invasive species, plant identification, pilot projects, photography, further information elsewhere, an E-Flora tutorial, E-Flora News, database information, and a site map. One of the best parts of the site is the collection of images, linked through a species search. This site owes much of its vision and quality to the Native Plant Society of British Columbia NPSBC, the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC, and the UBC Herbarium, Department of Botany, UBC and especially Brian and Rose Klinkenberg. The site is in continual development and improvment! (***1/2) -SR
June 6, 2005 - Native Orchids of the United States
Native Orchids of the United States has compiled data and links for orchid images for the 50 states, Mexico, Canada and Greenland. Data include species forms, synonyms, common name, plant habit, inflorescence and flowers, time of blooming, habitat, comments, distribution range and maps, links to other images, links to herbarium accessions and references. Images are often in connection with other sites (notably the Orchids of Wisconsin site). (***1/2) -SR
June 3, 2005 - NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art
NativeTech is an internet resource for indigenous ethno-technology focusing on the arts of Eastern Woodland Indian Peoples, providing historical & contemporary background with instructional how-to's & references. The site discusses Beads & Beadwork, Birds & Feathers, Clay & Pottery, Leather & Clothes, Metalwork, Plants & Trees, Porcupine Quills, Stonework & Tools, Weaving & Cordage, Games & Toys, Food & Recipes, Poetry & Stories, as well as a Virtual Woodland Tour and Contemporary Issues in Art. Site by Tara Prindle. (***1/2) -SR
June 2, 2005 - Herbaria and Herbarium Specimens (U. Toronto)
The Herbaria and Herbarium Specimens web page explains a variety of critical questions to plant collectors, including: What are herbaria? What information is provided on a herbarium label? How are herbarium labels produced? How has computerization affected herbarium practices? How are specimen databases used? ...and more. There is also a link to the International Working Group on Taxonomic Databases which determines the nature of future herbarium data. This site is part of the BOT 307 site of the University of Toronto by Tim Dickinson. (***) -SR
June 1, 2005 - Flora of Northern Ireland
The Flora of Northern Ireland site features species descriptions and often photographs of about 1100 plants. The entire island has been floristically mapped on the site, with species distributions plotted to a 10 km resolution with observations stretching over 25 years--a remarkable feat for any country. A search engine for species and families is provided, along with a hyperlinked index to the plant groups, a full species list, a habitat list, a list of protected species, and priority species. This site is copyright by National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland and Environment and Heritage Service based on broad support from different scientific groups and institutions. (***1/2) -SR

Past, past links (by date):

2006: January
2005: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2003: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2002: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2001: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2000: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
1999: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
1998: January*, February*, March*, April*, May*, June*, July, August, September, October, November, December   (*Leigh's links)
1997: January, February, March, April, May, June, September*, October*, November*, December*    (*Leigh's links)
1996: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Or search by: Subject Index