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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Kirkbride, Joseph - Joe
item Gunn, Charles
item Dallwitz, Michael

Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/16/2006
Publication Date: 4/17/2006
Citation: Kirkbride, J.H., Jr., Gunn, C.R., Dallwitz, M.J. 2006. Family guide for fruits and seeds. URL:

Interpretive Summary: Most commercial agricultural goods are transported in the form of fruits and seeds such as apples, soybeans and wheat. Often mixed in with these commodities are weeds and invasive species also in the form of fruits and seeds. To insure the value and quality of agricultural products and to prevent the introduction and establishment of weeds and invasive plants, the fruits and seeds of these unwanted weeds must be correctly identified. This research has resulted in an online, interactive database that is the first step in identifying unknown fruits and seeds. This system provides the means to identify isolated fruits and seeds of 418 plant families. Each identification can be tailored to the available characteristics of the fruit and/or seed using easy-to-recognize characteristics such as size, shape and color. Identifications are confirmed by comparing the unknown specimen with detailed descriptions and images. This online database will be used by seed analysts, port inspectors, scientists, and technicians who need the tools to identify a completely unknown fruit or seed to plant family.

Technical Abstract: The accurate, scientific identification of all fruits and seeds is essential to assure the quality control of many agricultural products and to prevent the movement of weeds and invasive plant species. This database includes the 418 seed-plant families accepted by GRIN. There are 328 characters recorded, distributed amongst the following types: 17 cone characters; 120 fruit characters; 177 seed characters; 3 distribution characters; 4 classification characters; one note character; 2 bibliographic characters; and 4 meta data characters. A detailed description is linked to each family, and 3,216 fruit and seed images are attached to the families in the database. Seed analysts, port inspectors, scientists, and technicians can access the database and images via the Internet and using the available characteristics identify isolated fruits and seeds to family. Identifications are then validated by comparing the fruits and seeds to the descriptions and images.

Last Modified: 05/28/2017
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