Where do I go
for plant information? The old school way at the local library? The
internet? My next door neighbor? Educational TV? Hmmmm. Maybe all of the
above (if your neighbor is a professor, a horticulturist, or an
Extension Agent, or so)! I really love libraries: the smell and feel of a
book in my hand is one of my favorite things. Going to a library can be
problematical, however, I usually need the plant information while I am
at work and the hour or two that is needed to get to the library is
just not acceptable. Educational TV may be a long wait to give me the
answer I need. An Extension Agent is a good choice as this is one of my
taxpayer perks, but sometimes the person is (gasp!) busy and unable to
answer immediately (sometimes I am embarrassed to let the agent know how
stupid my question can be, too! lol). That leaves the internet. The
internet is a wondrous tool when used properly. There are uncountable
places to find information and they are all true because they have been
written, right? No. Even books don’t always contain accurate
information: one always has to know the source of the information and
the same is true for the internet. Wikipedia may be an ok place to begin
(it seems to mostly have accurate information on plant home origins -
still double check), but anyone can write or alter information in
Wikipedia. Where do you go, then?.
edu sites are a wonderful source: Rutgers, Clemson, Auburn, Cornell, especially. There is Missouri Botanic Garden: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/ then look under Gardens and Gardening for more areas of info especially the Plant Finder: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/plantfinder/plantfindersearch.aspx (I love Mobot!)
case ya'll haven’t noticed, botanical names are changing, seemingly
daily. The guys in the know are never slack! Here is the place to go to
find the most current plant names: http://www.theplantlist.org/
- it does not list cultivars, you will have to search other places for
that. Here is what the site says: “The Plant List is a working list of
all known plant species. It aims to be comprehensive for species of
Vascular plant (flowering plants, conifers, ferns and their allies) and
of Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts).
Collaboration between the
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden enabled the
creation of The Plant List by combining multiple checklist data sets
held by these institutions and other collaborators.”These guys admit
this is a work in progress: “The Plant List is not perfect and
represents work in progress. Our aims remain to produce a ‘best effort’
list, to demonstrate progress and to stimulate further work.
This is a good place for plants in the United States: http://plants.usda.gov/java/
societies can be an important resource for growing conditions and plant
names - double check names in the Plant List, though for the most
Some purveyors of plants contain good information:
my short blog has turned out to be longer than I had planned! My list
here is just a starting point. The sites and info I have listed are not
the only places I turn to, just a few of my favorites that I think you
might also find amusing.
Search well, and prosper!-- Sherri McCalla, Herb Garden Curator
For updates and more!
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