interactive keys and others

Donna I. Ford-Werntz dford2 at WVU.EDU
Mon Mar 13 14:18:10 CST 2006

Heike, I tested an interactive plant key for our state (in progress using
XID) with some students in a class I taught last semester.  They really
liked it and made better identifications with less guidance than using the
printed state Flora.  In general, with only 5 or 6 selections, aided by the
analyze (best choices) feature, they had the options narrowed from >2000
taxa to about a dozen.  I was amazed at how well it worked at overcoming
the "what family is this" hurdle.  As for myself, I like to use the
computer version with vegetative material or when I really draw a blank on
something.  Otherwise, I find I still resort to my usual collection of
indispensible print references to differentiate similar species.  The
computerized attribute list, photos and brief description are often not
able to distinguish at that fine level of detail.  Cheers, Donna

Donna I. Ford-Werntz     West Virginia Univ.

Herbarium Curator (WVA)  Box 6057

Assoc. Prof. Biol.       Morgantown, WV 26506

5230 Life Sciences       293-5201 X31549
email: dford2 at    fax: (304)293-6363

Web site at

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