Plant Database forum: Database expansion and mods

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Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Jun 21, 2012 7:23 AM CST
Hi, Dave,

I've an idea that I'd like to see explored regarding improving the usefulness of the plant db, but think it might be a bit controversial. Let me give some background before tossing in the idea.

In addition to other things, I collect Rhipsalis. Rhipsalis and related epi cacti are a mess, both scientifically and within the commercial community. You almost never see a correctly ID'd Rhipsalis offered for sale (with a few exceptions) and the scientifically proper ID's are hard to distinguish one species from another. This is hard to understand in some ways, as there does not appear to be any problems with hybridization. It is generally believed that they do not hybridize. So if I run across a rhip for sale, I know that the name is likely wrong and need to do research to try to ID it. However, for most people, they accept and propagate the name incorrectly, further blurring the situation.

So the idea:

Can we add an area to the db, perhaps a second page available from a link, with an area to hold the formal, scientific description of the species, source of the description, etc? Much of this information is in the public domain, but very hard to find for most of us. Over time, the atp db could expand into a valuable reference for the plant world by containing a centralized, on line place for this information.

I would also like to see a a section that would allow an expert's description of how to tell one species from another, or how to identify a species, done by a knowledgeable person or collector. Side by side pictures of two similar species could be posted, with prose to indicate what to look for in the pictures to help decide the ID. This is different from a key, in that it lets and expert tell ou what to look for and can compare that with illustrative pics.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Jun 21, 2012 7:33 AM CST Admin

Part of the design of our database was specifically designed to address this kind of thing. We have what we call "Parent plant entries". Take a look at the parent page for irises:

Irises (Iris)

As you can see, there are places to put whatever kind of text you want. For Rhipsalis and others, we can make a parent page for them, set a moderator for that kind of plant, and then that moderator can put all the text in.

As near as I can tell, this parent plant feature provides exactly the central place that you're describing. If you'd like one setup for this plant, and if you'd like to moderate it, I'll set it up for you.

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Jun 21, 2012 7:51 AM CST
Dave, I completely missed that before. Let me think about your offer and do some checking it out. It is tempting, but I am not sure I am the right person

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