Plant family characters

I have had an idea to load some "observations" that show plant family characteristics rather than specific species. Pictures are so much better than words.

What do you think?

Plant family characters | Malvaceae
Plant family characters | Haemodoraceae

And the discussion that follows at

Family Banner Pages


I dont know if iSpot is ready for this, but it is a grand IDEA!

We have a request in for searches to be able to have a banner page. The way this works is that if you search, the Banner Page will the top page. This was requested in the light of some projects: but it wont happen in the next few months!
For instance, if you contribute to the Protea Colour Survey and you click on the tag, then you get: - but there is not context: it would be really cool to get the banner page as the first item, allowing one to find out what it was all about.

The same would apply to all searches - for instance to Malvaceae.

But there can only be one banner page. So we need to plan accordingly. I would suggest if you are interested, then you should please be happy to include additional pictures and artwork done by others (if they meet your standards).
I would like to see to for plant families:
* the floral formula
* the floral diagramme
* the diagnostic features.

Contributions can be done in the comments, but the author should please consider adding the most useful of these to the "description" be editing the observation from time to time.

This is a marvelous idea: lets make it really work.

My only hesitancy is that
* EoL is supposed to be doing this already. Can we compete or do better? In fact, SANBI is supposed to be doing the southern African pages for EoL, but with staff issues this will be a labour of several lifetimes. And in fact, Wiki is doing this already and even better: and we can all add content to Wiki!
* This is a huge task: there are hundreds of plant families, and "millions" (sorry could not resist) insect families, not to mention birds and fish and "others". Can we really do a reasonable job?
* And why only families? Why not orders, tribes, genera and even species? But plant families is a great idea! A good starting point and a manageable one.
* How do we stop enthusiasts from identifying the genus or species of a family? I dont know of any way, although of course the "Likely ID" is what we want and we can easily 'outvote' any other identifications (but it wont look neat!).
* How do we manage the politics? Wont tony's nose be out of joint if fynbos posts the Protea Family page? How do we work together with our coterie of prima donnas, experts, enthusiasts, sensitive personas and hypercritical ogres?

But dont let my problems hinder us. Let's not find problems but rather find solutions. This is a great idea - Lets go for it!

Who's your prima donna?

Fantastic idea, initiated by Marion Maclean. Good luck Marion, and all who are able and willing to contribute. Of course us iSpotters can be better at least than EoL and SANBI, and we should not be intimidated by Wikipedia.

-- Beetledude

Some standards

Please use this page as a standard reference:


* Please dont put in little notelets about features needing a microscope or special techniques: theydetract from the essentials. Anyone sufficiently interested will know that sort of thing already.

* Note that the first 3-8 lines will appear on the Banner Page in the "Family searches", "Taxonomy Links" and "Browse Observation" searches. So only put the key Diagnostic feature summary in the top and banish the details and non-essential stuff to lower down.

* Please add the Tag "Family Banner Page" - to allow quick searches of those families that have been done! (& "Order Banner Page" or "Genus Banner Page", etc.)

* Do not use the family (e.g. "Malvaceae") tag: it is a waste of time. No one is going to tag all observations: Rather use the 'family search' within html. In this case < a href="/species_dictionary/Malvaceae" > Malvaceae on iSpot< /a > (remove spaces around < and > to activate - try it: Malvaceae on iSpot).
Note that this is what you will get if you click on the Taxonomy Link for the family from any species linked to the dictionary!

* In the first picture - the one that shows up on the thumbnail and banner, please put in a nice 'cover' picture - not some feature (such as a leaf or bract) that does not deserve cover page!

Editing tip!

When editing or adding an observation, you can make the editing pane larger.

On the bottom right hand corner are 2 diagonal lines: drag this to the bottom right to allow you to see longer lines and more screen in the editing pane.
There is also a triple line on the bottom to make the editing pane deeper.
(This feature works better on some web browsers than others)

This is only for editing: when saved the displayed panel fits into the thread margins.

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