[Tweeters] RE: Subject: Great Native Plant Info Resource

Scott scottratkinson at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 6 10:23:14 PST 2014


While we're a birding site here, just wanted to chime in that the UW herbarium has truly revolutionized its on-line plant identification resources, and much more, accessible through the Burke Museum website. Ben Legler down there in ol' Hitchcock Hall at UW did a ton of work to get things to where they are. Other than on-line plant identification capability, they've now linked with other university herbariums, and provided a lot of other info--I was amazed, for example (and having a special interest in San Juan County plants), that they even have a special section showing range maps for species documented there by specimen--quite an achievement. Apparently contributions, from the National Science Foundation, as well as from some of our luminaries in the local Seattle marine industry, made this work possible.

The end goal is truly ambitious--the plan is to issue a new version of C. L. Hitchcock's Flora of the Pacific Northwest, published back in 1973 if memory serves. This definitive and legendary work (published as a single volume and as breakout with several volumes) was long considered a sort of "bible" of Pacific Northwest botany by many of us in the field, with its detailed narratives, illustrations, and identification keys to not hundreds, but thousands of species, subspecies and forms. Yet as we see in the birding world, systematic taxonomy of Homo sapiens drives reviews and reinterpretations of earlier treatments, as new data and methodologies arrive. Thus, many vascular plant taxa have been subject to revision, as shown in new Latin names and more, and these will be addressed in the new publication to come.

Well done, UW herbarium!

Scott Atkinson
Lake Stevens
mail to: scottratkinson at hotmail.com

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