Plant Database forum: Possible clarification re database entries?

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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Nov 23, 2016 9:43 AM CST
When working with a plant this morning, I was editing the characteristics and thought it might be helpful if some of the terms had either an explanation associated with them - either as a hover-over or just 1-2 word description immediately following the term.

Under Miscellaneous, for example, I usually skip by monoecious or dioecious because I forget what they mean. Epiphytic? Monocarpic?

Under the flower type, it would be very helpful to have a hover-over with a simple line drawing for the various choices, perhaps with a short description. And aren't all flowers either single or compound (one or the other)? Perhaps that could be a drop-down choice rather than mixing them in with the specific forms.

I do try to correct the 'unusual leaf color' entry, which I understand used to have a different meaning -- what might be more useful would be to have a drop-down list of potential leaf colors (green, yellow, red, gray, etc.)

One other thing that confuses me - what constitutes 'erosion control' under uses? To me, all plants provide erosion control. I do know that some are used more often than others specifically for that purpose, but have no idea what the criteria might be to warrant checking the box, so I never do.

Just some random thoughts as I work through my winter project (update my plant list, add a comment to each), nothing pressing.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Nov 24, 2016 12:13 AM CST
In my experience "erosion control" largely overlaps with groundcover. I don't know what the technical definition might be, but the best protection from the assault of rain around here would be a plant which provides even coverage and roots regularly, if only superficially... like the ice plants used locally for this purpose on highway and garden slopes. They form a mat on top of the ground and keep it from going downhill. Some work better for this specific purpose than others (eg. Delosperma better than Carpobrotus) because of their relative propensity to sprout roots as they grow.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Nov 24, 2016 12:30 PM CST
Which kind of brings up a different aspect - here in the PNW, erosion would be caused by heavy rains and steep slopes. In other environs, it might be wind stripping the topsoil. Some places would benefit from (as Baja notes) mat forming plants, others might need a long tap root to hold a bluff. It just seems to be that virtually any plant will help erosion control. ??
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Nov 24, 2016 1:43 PM CST
Except I suppose the ones that don't root in the ground... epiphytes and the like.

In my experience, some are much better than others. Early on I tested a bunch of candidates for this purpose (basically all the ice plant varieties I could get my hands on around here) and settled on one in particular which was particularly suited to the task. Not the fastest growing but able to occupy slopes in the most intimate way.

One of the issues related to erosion control here is our limited rainfall (limited in amount, limited in timing). I water all the plants I put in the ground during their first summer, during our months-long annual drought. But after that, they have to be more independent, which actually strikes a bunch of candidates off the list. In desert areas (including places where wind is the main erosive force) the question becomes how much you're willing to water your erosion control plant, and that would tend to determine the choices.

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