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New Plant Image Gallery Search Engine Makes Plant ID Easier

Posted Jul. 31, 2006

Since its launch in 1997, the Noble Research Institute's popular online Plant Image Gallery has helped thousands of natural resource managers, ecologists, students and homeowners who are seeking to identify plants. Now, Noble is pleased to announce some upgrades to the site that will make plant identification faster and easier.

The "Image Gallery Search Engine" is a new tool that allows users to select criteria about an unknown plant from drop-down menus and then run a search for potential matches. This new search engine also is enhanced with pictorial keys for menu items such as leaf structure and fruit type, allowing users to see drawings and definitions of the characteristics and choose the right one for the plant they want to identify.

Currently, the "Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines" search engine is fully functional. Search engines for the "Forbs" and "Grasses and Grasslike Plants" will be added soon.

The Plant Image Gallery is an ongoing project which currently includes more than 600 species of vascular plants. There are nearly 5,000 species of vascular plants known to Texas and nearly 3,000 species of vascular plants known to Oklahoma. The closer you are to this region of the country, the greater the likelihood of you finding plants in our Plant Image Gallery that are common to your area. However, a large portion of the plants we have photographed occur as far south as the Texas Gulf Coast and as far north as the Great Plains of Kansas and Nebraska. Many of the same species are also common from New Mexico and Colorado to Arkansas and Missouri. We have focused on plants near to Ardmore, Okla., due to proximity, but have plans to begin including more species, as time allows.

The Plant Image Gallery contains numerous images of each plant species for your ease in their identification. Most grasses represented have been photographed in their entirety during their reproductive phase along with close-ups of the inflorescences, spikelets and other identifiable vegetative characteristics. Most forbs have also been photographed in their entirety during flowering along with close-ups of the flowers, fruits, stems and leaves. The woody plants represented have been photographed in their entirety as well, but not necessarily during their flowering or fruiting periods. We have focused more on close-ups of their leaves for use in identification, but have included numerous close-ups of flowers and fruits as well.