details in Agricultural Research.
Better Online Info on Plant Names, Noxious Weeds
By Hank Becker
March 1, 2001
Up-to-date scientific information on
certain plants is now available on an improved, user-friendly, multilingual web
site developed by Agricultural Research
The site, developed by botanist John H. Wiersema and colleagues at the
ARS Systematic Botany and Mycology
Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., includes the correct common and scientific
names of economically important vascular plants and information about their
The upgraded web site adds some important improvements to the
Information Network (GRIN) taxonomy area, including a new web page devoted
to enhancing and expanding the
World Economic Plants, A
Standard Reference. That 749-page reference was published in 1999.
So far, the web pages devoted to economic plants and their uses--a subset of
GRIN taxonomy--comprise scientific information on 9,356 of the most important
plant species from 2,616 genera and 290 families. The economic coverage
includes plants or plant products traded, regulated, or otherwise directly or
indirectly important to international commerce.
Several search engines help users find information using various
criteria--such as genus, common name and economic use (such as food, fiber,
forage, timber, fuel, spice, genetic, medical, ornamental and social uses).
More than 75,000 literature citations are cross-referenced to the names of
economic plants alone. The researchers have also developed Spanish and
Portuguese versions of many of the web pages, with French and German
translations on the way.
Another new web page provides access to a specialized segment of the GRIN
database devoted to information on noxious weeds. Both taxonomy web pages are
part of the GRIN database, which includes over 62,000 botanical names of mainly
economic plants. They can be accessed from:
For more details, see the March issue of Agricultural Research.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.
Scientific contact: John H. Wiersema, ARS Systematic Botany and
Mycology Laboratory, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-9181, fax (301) 504-5810,