Color terminology and identification

Paterson, Trevor T.Paterson at NAPIER.AC.UK
Tue Aug 3 09:23:36 CDT 2004

The RHS colour charts (available as a boxed set of paper fans) s a widely used standard colour set for flowers

they take great care to use reliable reproducible inks etc, perception of colour of course varies with light intensity etc - i think their standard protocol involves viewing in natural daylight from a north facing window..............

this is quite a well studied problem - it is of course impossible to reproduce these accurately on different computer monitors.................
cresecent bloom make a package for datbaseing plant descriptions which includes a representation of the RHS colours - look at their site

however we have this package and the colours you see on the screen are very unlike the ones that you see on the paper fans

a good paper on this was on the web till recently - but the link is dead know - i have put a copy on  a server here

Trevor Paterson PhD 
t.paterson at <mailto:t.paterson at>  

School of Computing 
Napier University 
Merchiston Campus 
10 Colinton Road                
EH10 5DT 

tel:          +44 (0)131 455-2752
<> <>  

Napier University Open Day for full and part time programmes, Craighouse Campus and Merchiston Campus, Wednesday 15th September 11.00am - 7.00pm

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU]On
>Behalf Of Peter Werner
>Sent: 03 August 2004 07:24
>Subject: [TAXACOM] Color terminology and identification
>I am working on a fungal taxonomy project and color description is a
>very important of the macromorphological phase of my collection
>descriptions. I have some questions about how best to carry this out
>and would value feedback from other taxonomists who use color
>identification as part of their morphological work.
>Basically, the technique I've been shown is simply to match the color
>of the mushroom part I'm looking at with the closest match I can find
>in the Methuen Handbook of Color (and sometimes the Ridgeway Color
>Standards as well) and to note the number of the shade that's the best
>match. This often seems very subjective and also sometimes its not
>possible to find a Methuen color that's a match to the natural color
>I'm trying to find. In other cases, several Methuen shades are so close
>that picking the one exact shade that best matches is nearly
>impossible. Is there a more formal method of color matching than this?
>Also, I have some question as to how accurate the Methuen colors are.
>Often the colors in Methuen don't quite match the color of the objects
>that they are supposed to describe - for example, the color described
>in Methuen as "apricot" seems to have more brown in it than an actual
>apricot skin would have. I know that printed inks can shift color over
>time and these sort of mismatches between the illustrated color and the
>described color name makes me wonder if this hasn't happened to the
>copies of Methuen in our lab.
>Finally, I have some question on the proper lighting for color ID. The
>ideal light, of course, would be full natural light, however, due to
>construction around the university, our lab has been consigned for
>several years to a windowless basement illuminated by large hanging
>fluorescent lights (and not the full-spectrum kind). I have a lamp on
>my desk that takes incandescent bulbs and recently put a 100W neodymium
>bulb in it. The difference is noticeable - yellows are not nearly as
>prominent and reds become very strong when I shift an object from
>overhead fluorescent to neodymium bulb illumination.
>This seems to have solved my lighting problem, however, I've recently
>read that neodymium incandescents don't provide a true full-spectrum
>light and that only a special type of fluorescent bulb can provide
>light of this quality. This would require purchase of a special lamp
>that can take these kind of bulbs. Does anybody here know whether
>there's a noticeable difference in color quality between a
>full-spectrum fluorescent and a neodymium incandescent light?
>Thanks in advance for any feedback you can provide -
>Peter Werner
>Graduate Student, Mycology
>San Francisco State University

More information about the Taxacom mailing list