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San Diego Plant Identification CD

Use with Windows 95
or higher
(Not Mac-compatible)

Price: $50.00
Click here to order
Proceeds benefit the San Diego County Plant Atlas

Plant Identification CD

Developed in cooperation with the San Diego County Plant Atlas project, the CD (produced by Flora ID Northwest, LLC) teaches you how to identify local plants and increases your knowledge of the flora of the county.

Based on the Checklist of the Vascular Plants of San Diego County 4th Edition by Rebman & Simpson (2006) , the CD includes all native and naturalized plants (including flowering plants, trees, grass-like plants, ferns and fern allies) known to grow in the county. Known as a "multiple-entry" or "polyclave" key, it is much simpler for the layperson to use than traditional dichotomous plant keys. The CD offers color photos to aid in identification, an on-screen User's Guide, Tutorial, and Quick Reference Guide, as well as line drawings and glossaries that illustrate and explain the terminology to amateurs.

Ken Bowles
Photo credit: Ken Bowles
1,761 Flowering Plants
Jeannie Gregory
Photo credit: Jeannie Gregory
38 Ferns and Fern Allies
Steve Matson
Photo credit: Steve Matson
268 Grasses, Rushes, Sedges
Tony Morosco
Photo credit: Tony Morosco
20 Conifers
Full color photographs based on the
Checklist of Vascular Plants of San Diego County, 4th Edition.

Plants are identified by selecting characteristics which best describe the plant (e.g., the color or shape of the flowers, or the arrangement and shape of the leaves). Unlike traditional keys, characteristics may be selected in any order. With each selection, the computer eliminates from the list of possible species those which do not match the chosen characteristics. With practice, it takes only a few minutes to identify an unknown plant, often using only about four to seven characteristics. Even plant specimens without fruit or flowers can be identified. At any point in the keying process, the user can scroll through the photo gallery of the remaining species.

The program essentially acts as a "smart" checklist of the plants of San Diego County. In addition to helping identify plants, it can also be used as a reference for a particular family, genus, or species. Highlighting any species name allows you to call up (and print) descriptive information, photos, a list reference books with page numbers, synonyms of scientific names, and a listing of unique characteristics for that species compared to others.

Marking characteristics in the menus can also be used to pare down the species list; marking "Tree" or "Cactus" for example, would reduce the list down to the 121 trees (or 24 cacti) of San Diego County.

The CD is available for $50.00 in the Museum Store at the San Diego Natural History Museum, or from the San Diego Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

This computer program is a unique and comprehensive resource about the flora of San Diego County - it is like having the power of traditional published floras (such as The Jepson Manual, the Flora of North America, and The Flora of San Diego County) presented with the ease of your favorite wildflower picture books (Jim Lightner's San Diego County's Native Plants, and Margaret Filius's Native Plants Torrey Pines State Reserve).