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Plants Examples

Proposing a microformat to describe a particular plant, classified by its latin name. Plants all have common attributes associated with them related to appearance, growing conditions, disease, pests, maintenance etc. Many websites publish information about plants, but as yet this information is not open to exchange and aggregation.

The Problem

To collect information on the current status of plant related information on the web.

Here are a few possible applications:


Real-World Examples


Crocus is an plant catalog containing listings of plants available for purchase online. Many nurseries and garden centers now offer online purchasing possibilities. There are hundreds if not thousands of similar sites currently online, both big and small. Other examples are:


Growstuff is one of a number of open source gardening and agriculture projects. You can find several others listed on Growstuff's similar projects list and Open Food Foundation's list.

Growstuff has a crop database of edible plants, and allows members to record what they have planted and harvested (like a garden journal), keep track of what seeds they have, etc. Each crop page has basic information about the crop (name, scientific name(s), etc) as well as planting and growing information aggregated from members' garden journals (eg. "plant in full sun or semi shade", "plant from seedling or root division"). Planting information, though at present global, is intended to be offered specifically for local environments -- a crop that grows in full sun in a cool temperate climate may require shade in a warmer one. Similarly, planting dates vary widely according to hemisphere and climate.

One important point to note is that species identifiers are highly problematic for gardeners, especially when it comes to food crops, as many food crops share a species. For instance, all varieties of lettuce are the same species, as are all varieties of tomato. All chilli/pepper varieties are just 4 species, all squashes (from zucchini to giant pumpkins) share just 3 species, etc. Even subspecies/varieties/etc don't work, as for instance kale and collard greens are both "Brassica oleracea var. acephela". These distinctions are important to food gardeners and cooks, though presumably not to biologists.

Paghat's Garden

Paghat's garden is an individual's site, documenting the plants grown in one garden. It is a good example of a gardener sharing useful information via the website. Currently the amount of information shared on the internet by individual gardener's on there own site or via a blog is limited. Given the right tools and incentives, the sharing of information in this way will increase.

Dave's Garden

BBC Gardening

The BBC maintains a large database of plants for use in their gardening site. Information from the "plant finder" contains:

Standing at only 40cm (16in) high, 'Lilliput'is perfect for smaller gardens and patio containers. Its trumpet-shaped rich blue flowers add a touch of the exotic to displays from mid- to late summer. Grow in moist but well-drained soil in a sunny spot. In colder areas, put on a dry mulch for winter.

(Blue African Lily example source)

Existing Practices


See Also

Proposed scheme for marking up scientific names. If adopted, a plant microformat (with care regime, supplier, etc.), could contain a scientific name microformat, in the same way that an hCalendar can contain an hCard.
plant-examples was last modified: Wednesday, September 6th, 2017