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An open encyclopedia of plant information, with interactions, guilds, uses, functions and more

 
Author
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Hey how can I get on and see all the polycultures that have been entered? I'm not terribly tech-savvy, I could enter one (sunchoke-hog peanut) but not see a list of all polycultures.
 
pollinator
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I guess the development is not finished, the search is not working properly either.
Have fun and try!

Advices to use it:

On the 1st page you would get only 9 answers.
-> So go directly to the search page.
-> open each plant in a new window, as you loose your search when you go back.

Example: I look for a deciduous + climber.
-> There are 38 plants showing up in the page,
Now I know there are 34 actinidia at least!
...so I could look for only 4 other plants (letter A ).

Then you have to chose other criteria to narrow the search.
-> Do not use the heat zone, it shows no plant yet.

-> You have to get used to the USDA criteria, as it does not work upwards.
vitis lanata shows up only if I enter 9, and not with 10.
(and I do not know where is our vinis vinifera.)

I used the USDA to "get rid" of 30+ actinidia that were filling the whole page.
-> If you look for zone, let's say 10, clic on 10 and then also on 9, 8 etc

Then I added "well drained", and I still had quite a few plants to look at, great, 14.
I added full sun, 11 plants.
Moderate water... 11... low water... all gone, ok, go back to moderate...

-> Oops, do not use the soil texture, nor the environmental tolerance, they are not yet in the DB.

Now I visit my choices! I have selected 7...
(vitis I already know and some poisonous ones are out)

I am missing the photos (size, covering capacity), so now I am going to use wikipedia & google again.
I also need to know where the plant come from, and the heat tolerance.
Their use is not enough for me, I first want to check adequacy.

I will tell you my winers!
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1877
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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one plant selected is
http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Parthenocissus_himalayana

When I go to pfaf :
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Parthenocissus+himalayana

I immediately see in pfaf what practical plants does not mention:
"Climbing over rocks, 1200 - 3300 metres in W. China[109]. Moist open places at elevations of 2100 - 3200 metres in Nepal[272]."
That makes me go directly to the "suitable for" section, to find out "It prefers moist soil."

Andru, why did you suppress from PP some useful info like habitat and range?
It is so easy with the habitat to have a great idea of the suitability in one short sentence!

Same if I compare http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Millettia_reticulata
with http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Millettia+reticulata
"Damp shady places[147]. Thickets on slopes and in valleys at elevations of 100 - 950 metres[266]."
This is not the "moderate water" I searched for.

And another info on the net tells that it is deciduous ...only in cold climate.
The datas will have to be crossed between more sources I think.
Even if they are not opened sources.

And if the content of an encyclopedia is shared,
I think the design could be shared as well,
and as in permaculture,
it could be worked upward a lot,
in order to spare time afterwards.

Well, sure I know you share your work BEFORE it is finished,
but I think the permacultural design of a wiki (designed to be widely used & practical)
could be worked in common to go deeper into the practical side.
If you ask us now & here for participating, this is not to hear what you already know,
nor to do what you can already do,
this is to get something new.

Let's say, here, can we tell what we expect first from such a website?

- Yes, the tool you work for: enter a lot of different criterii in the search tool, great.
- I also want a site that gives ONLY and specifically useful plants, edibles, medicinal and other uses (toothbrush and toilet paper too!),
and this you do too, great.
- I also want to see some important features at a glance.
- Then I want to select the ones that are for MY climate.
So I need the rain pattern, mm/year, the place where it is native, its type of habitats etc.
I 1st want to get to KNOW the plant, so that I can FEEL if it will be happy here.
(adaptation is a later topic, if I really want to introduce a plant that does not come from a similar place to mine)
- Full sun or shade comes after, as a full sun in Alaska is not a full sun in California.
- If all the wiki tells about only useful plants, then I will look at the great things I can expect from my "guests" afterwards!
This is the easiest part of the quest.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1877
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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I have tried to edit!
I used the money plant:
http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Lunaria_annua

I had other informations coming from a seed list: http://jlhudsonseeds.net/SeedlistLO-LZ.htm
I like their resume: "Old fashioned annuals and perennials grown for their attractive, sweet-scented flowers and the large, flat, silvery pods used in dried arrangements. Easily grown, standing poor soil, part shade, and drought. Reseeds well. Sow early in spring or fall in mild climates."

Great, a nice flower and a veggy for tree shadee, and it will wait water when I give it every 20 days to my trees!
Now, same as we trust pfaf, we have to trust this site...

I have tried to eat a raw dry seed with no success of course, and "The unripe seeds and the roots are said to have a hot, mustard-like flavor, and have been eaten in salads."

Is pfaf recipe with unripe or mature seeds? This has to be tried and answered.

I would like to encourage you to give a try and do something for a start, so that we can see the weaknesses, such as the necessity to cross information, including non wiki information, so that we can give many ideas to Andru about the basis and the form of the wiki.

Or else, we will mostly wait that more people enter the dance floor to go as well.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
Posts: 1877
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Another track... Criterii for the search, let's see what has already been done.
(and finally I put most of my computer marked pages! After all the encyclopedia is meant to work with the available DB)


Missouri botanical garden offers a multi criterii system:
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/plant-finder.aspx
you can downloads their books: http://www.botanicus.org/browse/titles
That's all about old books that have been scanned! Internet information comes from books…

If you want photos of African plants, or a veeeery scientific search criterii…
http://www.westafricanplants.senckenberg.de/root/index.php?page_id=17

Washington native plant society offers a 1 criteria system:
http://wnps.org/landscaping/herbarium/index.html

Kew Royal Botanic Garden offers an habitat search (and also family and country):
http://www.kew.org/plants-fungi/species-browser/index.htm

Many sites do not offer more than a search by name or genius name.
BUT, some sites are very specific, and you will know what you will find.
For example agroforestry (AFP):
http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/sea/products/afdbases/af/asp/BotanicSearch.asp
"It is designed to help them make rational decisions regarding the choice of candidate species for defined purposes."
"agroforestry trees are those that are deliberately grown or kept in integrated land-use systems and are often managed for more than one output. They are expected to make a significant economic or ecological impact, or both."
Pacific islands agro-forestry : http://www.traditionaltree.org/

Trees of Costa Rica: http://www.elmundoforestal.com/arboles/listatotal.html

Amazone rainforest database. http://rainforest-database.com/

Herbs: http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/1menu.html (you have to know the name you are looking for)
http://www.plantdatabase.co.uk/

Under-utilized species makes you chose between oil crops, grain, root, legume...
http://www.underutilized-species.org/species/species.asp
The same as above… http://www.cropsforthefuture.org/our-work/our-products/databases/
CROP for a future is in Malaysia
http://www.cropsforthefuture.org/resources/online-resources-on-useful-plants/
they redirect to pfaf or afp, but also to purdue university and others...

Food Plants International. A database of useful information on over 18,000 edible food plants
Best if you know the name, bu they offer some search criterii. Not easy to use...
http://www.cmsvr.com/fmi/iwp/res/iwp_auth.html;jsessionid=01F418C19E23676311D74445.wpc1
clic on guest account and login. It uses instant web publishing.

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/default.html
Purdue is great, it gave me access to Julia Morton's large work!
And the newcrop project is loaded with informations.

Fruits?
Morton's work...
Fruit of warm climate (so you know precisely what you will find there):
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/index.html
or:
445 fruit trees here : http://www.fruitipedia.com/Name%20list.htm
Fruits of Thailand: http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/AB777E/ab777e00.htm#Contents

http://fruitandnuttrees.com/

Some places in the world with specific and diverse climate adapted species:

think some Chilean plants can be great?
1st get used to the numbers of the region, and check out which one has a similar climate to your place.
Fun to do!
chile bosque : http://www.chilebosque.cl/index.html
chile flora : http://www.chileflora.com/
flora chilena : http://www.florachilena.cl/Niv_tax/Nom_Comcient.htm


Australia has great plants, and great websites for them. They usually have a good location map.
http://www.florabank.org.au/lucid/key/Species%20Navigator/Media/Html/index.htm#A
Its climate parameters are great.

Australian native plants society : http://anpsa.org.au/gallery.html
Wonderful enter through photos, but much more than a gallery.

Australian national botanic gardens : http://www.anbg.gov.au/plantinfo/index.html (if you find how to use it…)
http://florabase.dec.wa.gov.au/browse/family (uneasy and scientific details)

South Africa is also very exciting...
Plantzafrica is a must (http://www.sanbi.org website) : http://www.plantzafrica.com/frames/plantsfram.htm

other african countries:
the same website frame for several countries:
http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/
http://zambiaflora.com/

Madagascar catalogue :
http://www.tropicos.org/Project/MADA

http://www.nap.edu
Lost crops of the Incas (read free online)
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=1398&page=R1
Lost crops of Africa:
grains: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309049903
Vegetables: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11763&page=1
Fruits: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11879&page=1
 
Eric Toensmeier
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It has taken us a long time to get Apios to where it is today and we are still troubleshooting and adding new features all the time. Congratulations on your hard work and I'm glad to be participating.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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Thanks for stating this! I feel the same as I know the job it implies and implied.
I want to help it to be better, and it is just an awkward feeling to be forced to point weaknesses.
It is just because there is no other way than pointing the problem to shoot it!
(I loved to discover the expression "troubleshooting"!)
 
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Whoops I didn't notice this thread had (old) new responses! Xisca, thanks for all the links - they'll be very useful in the future and I'll add them to the resources page on Practical Plants: http://practicalplants.org/wiki/PracticalPlants:Resources

Eric - thanks! It took a lot of work, and at the moment it's taking back seat to another project I'm working on, so I'm mostly just maintaining it. I hope to find more volunteers to work on the technical side someday.

I learned a lot in the process and above all came to realise just how many disparate sources of data there out there for plants. There's so much replication of plant data I hope to slim down Practical Plants a little bit in the future to focus just on uses; and on the technical side provide a way to have a distributed database which can be shared between multiple projects and most importantly allow edits from all of them (much like an open source code project). For now, though, it's getting tens of thousands of visitors a month and occasional contributions so hopefully it's already helping a little in it's current form.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Andru Vallance wrote:many disparate sources of data there out there for plants.
There's so much replication of plant data I hope to slim down Practical Plants a little bit in the future to focus just on uses



That summarizes perfectly the "problem" I was always pointing out when discussing in your forum.
And thus the necessity to cooperate with other sites,
and focus each on something specific and special.
 
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Really cool plant resource; I applaud you, just found your site through a google search for the search term "permaculture encyclopedia", your link through this site was third on the list of the results.
You ask how to spread the word, well i'm an online marketer and here are a few of my most effective tips.
I recommend you use other forums and sites (youtube, blogger, wordpress, squidoo, hubpages etc) that allow you to create your own content on, the more popular the website, the better results you will get and quicker as well.
If I were you I would do videos on youtube and in each video I would get very specific with whatever topic you choose to speak about, obviously the more detailed the better, keep your vids short so it's easy to follow and concise. The shorter the video generally speaking, the more videos you can make because it will be easier for you to produce and also because more people will find you on google or youtube (via the relativity of your title and description words) as opposed to making one long video which could be broken down into 100, catch my drift?

I hope you do great things with this site,

Keep fighting the good fight.

Dan
 
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