Plant Database forum: Proposing a change to how the parent plant feature works

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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Mar 29, 2012 7:19 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Currently, when you have a parent plant, you have to specify which species are included. Or, if you leave the species out, then it only covers cultivars that have no species.

For example, the parent plant for Roses has 'Rosa' as the genus and no species.

But that means that the parent plant doesn't cover species roses. (which is probably fine).

If you want the parent to also include certain species, then you have to include those species as a synonym in the parent plant entry.

Anyway, I desire to change this behavior so that the parent plant -by default- covers all plants within a certain genus. Then if you want a parent that only covers a certain species, you would add that species when you add the plant entry.

If I make this change, then all the current parent plants will suddenly match much more than what they match now. The Rosa entry, for example, will suddenly match ALL Rosa genus roses in the database, regardless of what's in the species field. The databox information will be copied into the newly matched plants.

Does anybody object to this?
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Mar 29, 2012 8:39 AM CST
Let me think about this for just a bit for the Hibiscuses and the Euphorbias, in particular. There are a lot of species in those two genera -- tropical, succulent, hardy -- so I need to think just how this will work for them all.



The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
[Last edited by SongofJoy - Mar 29, 2012 2:40 PM (+)]
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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
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dave
Mar 29, 2012 8:58 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

So in cases like that, what we do is this:

Using the example of Hibiscus, we would remove the main parent plant entry to Hibiscus.

Then we would create a parent plant entry for:

1) Hibiscus mocheutos
2) H. syriacus
3) H. rosa-sinensis

And we would not have a main generic Hibiscus parent plant.

But the benefit is that we get much more specific with our parent plant feature, but when specificity isn't necessary we can cover entire genera by simply excluding the species field in the parent plant.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Mar 29, 2012 9:11 AM CST
What Tee stated above would also pertain to Sedum, hardy and tender types.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Mar 29, 2012 9:11 AM CST
Yes. So the rest of the Hibiscus species (and there are a bunch of them) would then need to have a Parent plant entry created in order to have any data automatically listed in their entries?


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
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!
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dave
Mar 29, 2012 9:12 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

In that case, we would back out and remove the Genus-wide Sedum parent plant.
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!
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dave
Mar 29, 2012 9:12 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

SongofJoy said:Yes. So the rest of the Hibiscus species (and there are a bunch of them) would then need to have a Parent plant entry created in order to have any data automatically listed in their entries?


That's correct.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Mar 29, 2012 9:23 AM CST
Well, that should keep me/us busy. Green Grin! I like the idea very much from the standpoint of thoroughness as well as emphasizing the individuality of each species. And as for the Euphorbias, all the species (5000 or so) have only one thing that unites them into the genus to begin with: a characteristic of the flower that is found nowhere else in the plant kingdom. So, technically, it's rather useless to have a general Euporbia parent anyway.


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
[Last edited by SongofJoy - Mar 29, 2012 9:50 AM (+)]
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Mar 29, 2012 9:43 AM CST
Question: There would still be a "general" listing in the database, correct? For example, one entry simply listed as "Hibiscus". That is the place folks generally upload pictures when they are unsure of a species name. Hibiscus (or whatever) would just be removed from the Parent list, if I'm understanding your proposal correctly.

I am off to Nashville so will be back later to read and see what else I may have forgotten to consider. Green Grin!

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
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
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dave
Mar 29, 2012 10:04 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

In the case of Hibiscus, I don't mind doing either. We can leave the generic Hibiscus (no species) entry there for people to use but, like you said, I would remove the parent plant bit from it.
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
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dave
Mar 29, 2012 10:37 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I want to hear from others, especially Zuzu, Calif_Sue, and PollyK before I move on this action.

Another side note: the parent plant feature is going to be greatly enhanced soon in several other areas. One such area is moderators. The way the system is currently setup, the moderators are assigned to a genus and that's the end of that. It's a very kludgey system that I've never been happy with. I will be changing this so that I will assign moderators to parent plants. Then all child plants to that plant will be moderated by that moderator.

So, keep that in mind, too.
[Last edited by dave - Mar 29, 2012 10:38 AM (+)]
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Mar 29, 2012 10:40 AM CST
Still watching to see how this goes. : )
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Mar 29, 2012 2:35 PM CST

Plants Admin

Would the change have a retroactive effect? The parent plant info boxes I'm working with (rose, clematis, primula) include some information that's not applicable to all of the plants in the genus. Some roses, for instance, can tolerate shade. The parent plant info includes "full sun." I've already changed that to "full sun or partial shade" in the appropriate cases. Would your change affect my changes?

By the same token, some clematises are not vines and some primulas do not have evergreen foliage, but that information is in the parent plant info. Those changes have already been made in most cases. Would the blanket coverage of all the plants in the genus add back the "vine" and "evergreen" information?
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!
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dave
Mar 29, 2012 3:01 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

That's a good question, zuzu. Here's how the databox information is transmitted:

1) When a plant is marked as a parent plant (by me) the system looks, finds all the child plants, and copies the databox over.

or

2) When a new plant is added, the system checks to see if it is a child plant of a parent. If it is, it grabs the databox from the parent and copies it into the newly created plant.

or

3) When the databox information for a parent plant is updated in any way (and because of the far-reaching ramifications, I am the only person permitted to change a parent entry) all the children plants are updated.

I'm pretty sure that only those three cases exist where data is copied in. So existing plants should be entirely unaffected.

New plants added, in those unusual cases where the data doesn't apply, could be updated to remove whatever was copied in that doesn't belong.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Mar 29, 2012 3:08 PM CST

Plants Admin

The reason I asked is that when Primula vulgaris was added as a parent plant recently, that information was added to the information I had already entered for individual P. vulgaris cultivars and it overrode my information in some cases, adding incorrect info to the correct info I had added, so it did affect existing plants.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Mar 29, 2012 3:27 PM CST
After you address zuzu's questions ...
Question about moderating: staying with the example of the Hibiscuses, zuzu is working on the tropical Hibs so she would be assigned H. rosa-sinensis and its children and so forth. I am working with the hardy Hibs, H. syriacus and H. moscheutos, because those are the only two hardy Hibs that have parent plant info thus far. So I would get whatever falls under those. But what about the other tropical and hardy Hib species? They don't get assigned a moderator until they have a Parent entry or how do you see that working?

As far as the Euphorbias, I would think take it out in the Parent Plants area (the single little databox entry) and leave Hibiscus as a general entry in the database so people have a place to upload their 'species unknown' photos.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
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
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dave
Mar 29, 2012 5:19 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

zuzu said:it did affect existing plants.


This is something that we will just have to approach very carefully. The burden will be on me to make sure the transition does not cause a spillover of data that doesn't need added. And I can and will make specific backups so that if an error does occur, you can notify me and I can back out the change.

SongofJoy said:Question about moderating: staying with the example of the Hibiscuses, zuzu is working on the tropical Hibs so she would be assigned H. rosa-sinensis and its children and so forth. I am working with the hardy Hibs, H. syriacus and H. moscheutos, because those are the only two hardy Hibs that have parent plant info thus far. So I would get whatever falls under those.


Yes, and that's an advantage of my proposed change.

SongofJoy said:But what about the other tropical and hardy Hib species? They don't get assigned a moderator until they have a Parent entry or how do you see that working?


The way I envision it is that the parent plant is determined for each child this way:

Does the plant have a species? If so, is there a parent plant that has the species? If so, then that's the parent. If not, then is there a parent plant with NO species but the same genus? If so, then that will be the parent.

So in this way, way can have "Hibiscus" as a parent plant, AND "Hibiscus rosa-sinensis" as a separate parent plant. The former covers everything that the latter doesn't cover.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Mar 29, 2012 5:37 PM CST
Still reading.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
Clematis Irises Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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zuzu
Mar 29, 2012 5:45 PM CST

Plants Admin

Okay, so I'll find examples of roses, primulas, and clematises to which the parent plant info did not apply and I'll keep an eye on them after you make the change.
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
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dave
Mar 29, 2012 7:20 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Something else that we might consider doing, that might make sense anyway, is to ensure that if we have a parent plant with no species listed (meaning it would match ALL plants within that genus, regardless of species) then we need to make sure that the databox info for it is general enough that it wouldn't create a problem if it was indeed copied.

Is that feasible or desirable?

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