The Buzz

Info, Info, Anywhere?

 

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!) 

In 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/

Plant societies can be an important resource for growing conditions and plant names - double check names in the Plant List, though for the most current information!http://www.herbsociety.org/http://www.begonias.org/

Some purveyors of plants contain good information:
https://www.horizonherbs.com
/http://www.plantdelights.com/

Well, 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

Posted by sherri mccalla at 8:00 AM

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