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More and Better Online Info on Plant Names, Noxious Weeds / March 1, 2001 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Photo: The revised web site for the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) now includes a new segment on noxious weeds, including this one named yellow starthistle. Link to photo information

Read: more details in Agricultural Research.

More and 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 Service scientists.

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 use.

The upgraded web site adds some important improvements to the Germplasm Resources 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,

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