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NEW WEBSITE FOR SEED IDENTIFICATION

NEW WEBSITE FOR SEED IDENTIFICATION

A website https://www.idseed.org/ has recently been launched by the International Seed Morphology Association to “promote collaboration, knowledge sharing, resource development, and research…” and “…to be a scientific source of seed morphology knowledge and expertise, publishing interactive digital identification tools and establishing a seed identification database for weeds, economically important plant species and wild plant species”.

With a particular emphasis on providing assistance to biosecurity and quarantine agencies, concerned with preventing the introduction of invasive weeds, the site provides information on various resources, including a Seed Identification Guide (https://www.idseed.org/seedidguide/home.html), currently consisting of seed identification fact sheets for 127 species, a searchable image gallery, botany glossary, and Lucid seed identification keys with links to two online keys.

The website also provides resources for authors who are interested in developing and publishing seed identification factsheets or images, including protocols, template and standard feature descriptions. See more at https://www.idseed.org/authors.html. We welcome authors and collaborators to enrich the resources and the Seed Identification Guide for end users.

Both seed keys are Lucid keys: one key is to 36 common plant families, where a family identification is needed for an unknown seed or fruit. The following feature descriptors are used: Seed shape, Colour, Surface features, Hilum-Attachment scar, Size (Length/Diameter range).

The other key is to the propagules or fruits of 102 biosecurity-relevant species of the daisy or sunflower family Asteraceae. It was produced by CSIRO scientist Alexander Schmidt-Lebuhn at the Australian National Herbarium (CANB) in collaboration with and through funding from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

NEW WEBSITE FOR SEED IDENTIFICATION A website https://www.idseed.org/ has recently been launched by the International Seed Morphology Association to “promote collaboration, knowledge sharing, resource development, and research…” and “…to be a scientific source of seed morphology knowledge and expertise, publishing interactive digital identification tools and establishing a seed identification database for weeds, economically important plant…

Seed identification app

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Display of nine close-ups of seeds. Click image for more information about the seeds.
Click the image for more information about the seeds.

Amy Rossman, Joe Kirkbride and Bob Gibbons identify a seed sample. Link to photo information
ARS mycologist Amy Rossman (left) and botanist Joe Kirkbride (middle) identify a seed sample with APHIS technician Bob Gibbons by comparing it with specimens in the U.S. National Seed Herbarium and by using the online database “Family Guide for Fruits and Seeds.” Click the image for more information about it.

New Online Guide for Identifying the World’s Seeds and Fruits

Trying to identify the exotic Laelia orchid is one thing. Recognizing this rainforest resident based on its microscopic, dust-like seeds—among the tiniest in the plant kingdom—is quite another.

That’s why scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Beltsville, Md., have created a special online database, called the “Family Guide for Fruits and Seeds”, for identifying the world’s myriad seeds and fruits.

Seeds are what enable plants—even those rooted well in one spot—to disseminate their reproductive material over hundreds, if not thousands, of miles. That’s impressive when considering the wide variety of plants we value and cherish, including agricultural crops that help feed and clothe us and the ornamental species that make our gardens dazzle.

But invasive plants—those ecologically destructive species that are spreading at an alarming rate in the United States and elsewhere—also derive a big boost from scattering seeds. Small and lightweight, seeds from invasive plants make the perfect stowaways, hitching rides in cargo and plant material traversing the globe.

It falls to regulatory agencies, like USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, to try to stop the entry and spread of noxious weeds into the country. The new seed database created by ARS will be a critical tool to aid their efforts, helping inspectors make tough and tricky seed identifications.

The guide was developed by Joseph Kirkbride, an ARS botanist who works at the Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory (SBML) in Beltsville.

Kirkbride, who manages the U.S. National Seed Herbarium housed within SBML, relied heavily on this collection and its more than 120,000 dried specimens when developing the interactive database.

According to Kirkbride, stopping seeds at their point of entry is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of keeping non-native plants in check.

For more on how ARS is helping nab troublesome weeds, see the latest issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Seed identification app An official website of the United States government Here’s how you know Official websites use .gov A .gov website belongs to an official government