Name the Plant

Introduction and history

Name the Plant is a game, played on a computer, which lets people experience the use of a botanical key to identify plants.

Many field guide-books include keys to help users distinguish similar species. Keys work by asking a series of questions about distinguishing features of species, the answer to which is either "yes" or "no". By a sequence of simple decisions between two alternatives, it is possible to identify the individual species of quite complicated groups of plants in just a few steps. In Name the Plant the key discriminates between four members of the Buttercup family. You can choose which one you wish to identify. Alternatively you can use it to identify a buttercup specimen of your own ! To try it, click on the CONTINUE arrow.

Corfe Castle: DNHAS logo

Name the Plant was originally part of the exhibition entitled "Flowers of Dorset", held in the summer of 2003 at the Dorset County Museum. In the exhibition, it was installed on a single computer with no network connections, and visitors pressed the touch-screen to use it. Now we have presented it on the World Wide Web for anyone to use.

This version of Name the Plant is unchanged from that used in the exhibition, except that (1) since you are probably using a mouse rather than a touch-screen, we have written "click" instead of "touch", and (2) on each page we have provided a way of leaving the game altogether, something which was not needed in the exhibition ! To get the closest approach to the original presentation you should make your browser window fill the whole screen, especially if your screen is small.


The original idea is due to Peter and Margaret Cramb. The drawings used in Name the Plant are by Margaret Cramb. Peter Cramb designed the logical steps of the key. John Palmer set it up as an interactive display in HTML (hypertext markup language). © 2003, the Contributors.

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