Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Plant Encyclopedia – a Review & a Recommendation


© University of Pennsylvania
    Floras have a long illustrious history. They lie at the heart of modern science in field ranging from taxonomy through medicine to biology and modern ecology. Among the most ancient of disciplines horticulture and the cultivation of plants has inspired the aggregation of plant lists since the ancient Greeks and Romans. Among the most famous floras of modern time is Leonhart Fuchs' (17 January 1501 – 10 May 1566) great illustrated herbal flora 'De historia stirpium commentarii insignes'.
    Today we have a new edition to the library of floras, The Plant Encyclopedia that takes advantage of the latest technologies just as Fuchs did when he used the then latest techno app, the printing press. This just released Global Guide To Cultivated Plants is an "…open-authored wiki resource, authored by the public worldwide; an information platform project of the organization Aden Earth. Passionate gardeners, horticulturists, and botanists around the world create these plant pages. Information in the Encyclopedia is designed for fast and easy gardening reference."

    Using a wiki model and seeking knowledgeable authors to update and expand its offerings, I amdelighted to see that invasive species issues are recognized as part of the comprehensive species discussions/ The entry for Hedera helix, English ivy reads:  Hedera helix (Common Ivy, English Ivy) is a species of Ivy native to most of Europe and western Asia. It is labeled as an invasive species in many parts of the United States, and its sale or import is banned in Oregon. 

  The level of detail and the ease of use should encourage gardeners and horticultural professionals to both add content and use this successor to such venerable tomes such as 'Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada' written and compiled by L. H. Bailey in the early 20th century.

    Among the many features I like the etymological notes for each species as well as the featured authors page In this fast paced world where finding the right information by searching through many books is fast becoming a lost art, The Plant Encyclopedia is packed with information and growing everyday. I expect this project and resource to become a must-go-to site for landscape professionals and gardeners every where.

1 comment:

shevy said...

Love the write up. Keep up the great work.