Frequently Asked Questions: PlantFilesGeneral Questions
- The system won't let me sign up!
- What's a member (vs. a subscriber?)
- Why should I subscribe?
- Why can't I search more than ten times each day?
- The system says I've reached my search limit - no way!
- Why didn't you reply to my question?
- Why aren't the pictures showing up?
- Can I use images from the PlantFiles?
- Do you sell plants? (or, Where can I buy this plant?)
- I need help identifying a plant!
- How do I add a new plant?
- I have plant information to share
- How do I add an image?
- Why should I add images or information to PlantFiles?
- What do the green stars, yellow flags and red x's mean?
- What do those eyes mean?
- Where are the images I submitted?
- I read the FAQ and I've still got a question!
- Be sure you're trying to sign up here (The two log-in boxes on our main page are where you'll log in once you have a username.)
- Don't add spaces or characters (an underscore "_" is the only non-alpha/numeric character that can be used.)
- Your chosen user name may already be taken; the more common the word or name, the more likely it is to be already in use.
- Enter a valid email address in the second field, not your choice
of passwords! Our system will send you an initial password which
you can change after logging in.
Subscribers have unlimited access to PlantFiles, advanced search and browse features, plus dozens of discussion forums (including an active and helpful plant/pest identification forum!) Subscribers help financially support PlantFiles and Dave's Garden; the cost is $19.95 per year, or $5 for a two-month trial subscription, for those who want to "test drive" these features before committing to a full year's subscription. Back to the top
The subscription and Google revenue we receive helps offset the expense of hardware and software required to maintain the entire Dave's Garden site including PlantFiles. (Subscribers also have the option of enjoying our site entirely ad-free.)
As mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ, we offer many features free to all our users. In addition to those basic tools and features, subscribed members can participate in nearly 200 discussion forums, twice a week live chat sessions, and have unlimited access to PlantFiles and its advanced features. If you want to subscribe, the subscription link above will walk you through the process. Back to the top
Those who use PlantFiles on a regular basis receive the most benefit from it, and are asked to help support the site by becoming a subscribed member. The vast and valuable information found within PlantFiles and the discussion forums are worth far more than the cost of a subscription, which works out to less than $0.05 per day. Or you can choose a trial membership to judge for yourself before committing to a full-year's subscription. Interested in joining? A link to subscribe is found at the top of this page.
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Users who find they regularly "max-out" their searches should consider subscribing to have unlimited access, more powerful search options and access to our 100+ discussion forums, including a helpful ID forum for those mystery plants or pests. Back to the topBack to the top
If you are unable to see ANY images on our site, the problem is most likely within the "referer" field that your browser normally would send to a website. Some firewall and anti-virus software (for no good reason) disable the referers in your browser, and this can only be enabled through the firewall or anti-virus software. In short, Dave's Garden and PlantFiles REQUIRE referers in order for you to view pictures. This is to protect the copyright on the images that our members upload in good faith to the site. Referers are used to prevent thieves from stealing the images. It doesn't work 100%, but it's far more than any other site does. Most frequently, we hear about this problem from users who have installed firewall software.
Three of the most common firewalls are McAfee, Norton and ZoneAlarm, so here are instructions to enable referers in both products. If you are using a different product, please consult your product's documentation to enable the referrers.
McAfee Security Suite
- Click "Privacy Service"
- Click "Protect my identity"
- On the right margin click the line that says "I want to . . . protect identity information"
- Click the tab that says "CleanSlate" and deselect "Prevent 'referer' information from being shared"
Norton Internet Security
- Open Norton Internet Security.
- Click "Options".
- Click "Internet Security".
- Click the "Advanced Options" button.
- Click the "Privacy" tab.
- Change Referrer (under Browsing Privacy) to "Permit"
- Click "OK".
- Click "OK" again.
- Close Norton Internet Security and the pictures should show up.
- Open the Zone Alarm configuration panel (Double click on the Zone Alarm icon on the bottom right of your Windows Taskbar, or open Zone Alarm from the "Start" and "Programs" menu.)
- Select the "Privacy" menu on the left hand side.
- Click on the button labelled "Custom", in the "Cookie Control" section
- Remove the tick from "Remove Private Header Information".
- Click "OK"
- Close the Zone Alarm configuration panel.
You can also check out our members' tradelists as you may find offers of plant cuttings, bulbs or seeds available for postage or for trade. You must be a registered user (signing up for a username is free) to participate in our tradelists and email other members with your requests.
Our subscribed members frequently ask each other for advice on where to buy a particular plant. To participate in our discussion forums and all our subscribers-only features, you can subscribe here. Back to the top
The good news is we offer a plant identification forum where all members can provide their expertise on images and descriptions submitted for plants and diseases. Typically, items are positively identified within a day or two of submission. (NOTE: You must be registered and logged in to participate in this free forum.)Back to the top
- Click on the "Add a new plant to the list" link (beneath the current images and comments on the homepage, or in the middle section of your tabs)
- Fill in all the appropriate fields. Common names should be capitalized as proper names ("Tall Bearded Iris" for example), as is the family and genus name. Species are not capitalized; cultivar name is entered without single (') or double (") marks and are capitalized. (We give extra points for correct spelling and capitalization!)
- After you press "submit" you'll have the option to go to your new entry and add details to it, and submit image(s) and a comment if you wish.
Despite these safeguards, mistakes sometimes happen. If you make a mistake or need assistance, use the "Report an Error" button (at the top) while you're looking at the entry. Tell us what needs to be edited, and well take care of it for you.
Note: PlantFiles is designed to be a user-friendly compendium of gardening and horticultural information, covering native and cultivated plants grown for their ornamental or culinary value. Entries for plants grown primarily for their narcotic or psychotropic effects may be removed at the editors' discretion.Back to the top
- Anywhere you see an "Unknown - tell us", you can click on that link to check the appropriate boxes for the plant.
- If your information isn't something we have checkboxes for, you can add it as a comment - you'll find a link to do so beneath the entry and any other comments that have been posted
- Select your watermark preference or allow the system to select the "default" watermark (the most commonly-seen watermark on the PlantFiles images);
- Access the correct plant entry and scroll down past the details and comments until you see "Add an image"
- Click on the "browse" button. This will open up a new window displaying your hard drive. Locate your image you wish to upload, then press "Preview".
- Read the disclaimer and check or uncheck the box as fits your circumstances.
- Add a brief caption to note the season and/or location (arboretum, park, etc.), or the age of the plant. (Lengthy or detailed information should be added separately as a comment.)
- Preview your image.
- If you're happy with the entry, press "Submit".
- IMPORTANT: Wait until you receive a message that your message was succesfully uploaded before using your browser's back/forward buttons or closing the page. If you don't wait for this message, the image will probably not load properly.
- We recommend a standard image size of 640x480 pixels, and no larger than 800x600. You do not need to upload a thumbnail size image; our system will automatically create the thumbnail image.
- Images that are saved as a .gif may take a while to load, especially if they're larger than 1MB; if you're on a slower connection, you may want to save it as a .jpg which will reduce the file size and reduce the wait time.
1. What you know helps others - whether they're trying to identify a mystery plant, or choosing plants to grow in their own gardens. PlantFiles is a vibrant, growing database because thousands of gardeners generously share their experience, information and photos for the benefit of others.
2. Your images receive public exposure, and may even be requested for commercial use elsewhere. Several textbook and gardening magazine editors frequently browse through PlantFiles for images. We help them contact members to negotiate for the use of an image in books or upcoming articles.
3. It's fun to see your submissions appear in the daily DG newsletter, and become an integral part of PlantFiles.
4. You can help your favorite plants make it to the top lists within PlantFiles by "voting" with your images, comments and even your ZIP code!
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: Good rating. This plant has received more positive feedbacks than negative.
: Neutral rating. This plant has received ratings, but they have all been neutral, or there are as many positive ratings as negative.
: Negative rating. This plant has received more negative ratings than positive
If you want to check the status of your images, a link on your Member Page (click on "My Info" above to access it) lets you review those still pending. This is especially handy if you want to prevent a duplicate submission, or you're concerned that an image didn't properly load. Back to the topPlantFiles discussion forum which is accessible to all registered users. (Need to register? Go here - it's free and easy!)
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