Plant Files

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

What's UP??? Can't find a thing this way...HELP!

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

sequee, one possible reason you were having problems is because you were trying to fill in more than one field.

For example, I put the name "Scotch Pine" in the common name field:

Then I searched for all members of the Pinaceae family:

If I search just for the genus Pinus:

Or the genus Pinus and species sylvestris:

If you're still having problems, please let us know!

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

It took me a time or two to get the hang of it, but I really like it now.

I tried to fill in too many fields and the common name that I used wasn't listed in the PF with that cultivar...but was with another...go figure...that was the thing I chose to look up first!

Now that I understand's great! It just took a minute to get my feet under me.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I'm glad to hear you sorted it out. And I'd be willing to bet that your experience will be repeated by others, so hopefully your question wil help them get their "sea legs" too ;o)

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

I only filled in one category, but (now don't you DARE laugh) I didn't look at the bottom screen, so it looked like nothing had changed! I think it was just a surprise, so it didn't register that the results were showing below instead of on a new screen,

I love it!

This message was edited Mar 18, 2005 9:58 AM

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

No laughing here. (Okay, may be a teensy muffled chuckle.) But really, that's a good point about getting accustomed to where to look for the results.

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Only one negative...if someone sends you seeds with just one name on it, you have no idea where it falls on the table and it's a royal pain having to cut and paste from line to line until you find out if it is the species / family / cultivar / ?

Any suggestions or tips?

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Personally, if I'm not sure of a plant's name, I start with Google. It will generally suggest spelling alternatives (although it's not always accurate), and will help me locate and sort common vs. botanical name.

Spokane Valley, WA(Zone 5b)

Say, Sequee has a good point about folks not always knowing the field in which the 'word' goes that describes their plant.

Would it be possible to also have a simple search box on that page like the one we had before? Many newbies need a while before they are comfortable with family/genus/cultivar, and it could be frustrating for someone just starting to use the PlantFiles. If both choices were given, then folks would gradually find the value of using the more advanced search... and we wouldn't lose potential subscribers due to the 'complexity' of the search tool.

Just a thought. :)

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Donna, I'm not exactly a newbie, but I know it sure would be helpful to me to be able to do a basic search. I like DG because I don't have to go all over the place looking things up. If I have to do a google search first, it's kind of defeating the purpose for me. Once I get in Dave's, I don't like to leave - EVER! (Just ask my boss! LOL!Thank heavens he's a plant lover! I just got through planting 4 cells each of 4 different flowering vines and shrubs for him - after DG'ing them and printing the photos! Whew!)

Spokane Valley, WA(Zone 5b)

Sequee, I wasn't suggesting you were a newbie... lol... I've read many of your posts! :)

I *AM* a newbie, however, though growing in knowledge by leaps and bounds. I started a spreadsheet about a year ago with the botanical names of everything I could identify in my yard, but still need a lil help getting my foot in the search door at times.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I realize using Google adds another step. But to be honest, I use it all the time (I shudder to think what my "ranking" is as a Google user - I would guess I'm in the elite bracket at this point ;o)

I have Google on my toolbar, which is particularly handy for going back and forth. We get lots of questions at the helpdesks and I frequently have to look up their plant name via Google to get some idea of what they're talking about. I also use Google to sort out PlantFiles entries.

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't know that there's anything we could do within PlantFiles that would totally eliminate the need for other sources. Part of my reasoning for asking Dave to break down our searches by field name is to make PlantFiles operate more efficiently (It's a lot faster to tell it to search on just one field, than to have it slog through the common, family, genus, species and cultivar names.)

He may choose to re-institute some type of "all field" search, but my hope is that most folks will first try to search on a particular field, and use a general search only if they can't find what they're looking for. (And I'd put good money on a bet that says you could Google for it much faster than using an all-field PlantFiles search.)

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Donna - I've really only been at this for a few years veggie-wise and this is my first year flower-wise, hense the "not exactly"! (As in, "not exactly, but derned close!) I still have to look up more than half the things I see posted - grrrr! I want to know everything - yesterday! Patience, alas, is not my strong suit!

Oh well...

Ewing, KY(Zone 6a)

I don't know if you realize it or not , but the search is pretty flexible, if you know a cultivar has purple in the name for instance you can just put purple in the that field and it will bring all those up. Or you know something by the common name of kiss me over the garden gate, put in kiss in the common name and you will find it. Can you tell I been playing with it? :) I realize it's a big change but I really think it will be so much better. You don't have to know species etc to use it. Use the information you know and you can find it. Filling in to much information is the thing that makes it harder.

Oakland, OR(Zone 8a)

I like the new format a great deal. It seemed that everytime I went to look something up-such as Camellia-I would have umpteen thousand entries to look at as there are many flowers that have Camellia in their names. Now, as I am able to specify that it is the genus Camellia I have a lot fewer to look through to find my cultivar. Does my wording make sense? At any rate I sure like the current format. Dotti

Muscoda, WI(Zone 4b)

Personally, I don't like the new system. For me it puts the novice in a tailspin of having to learn everything at once. It might be fine after a person becomes familiar with all the 'gobbledy gook' of the batanical system...but for people like me who are just 'plain dirt diggers', the old system worked *far* better.

Sorry Dave, I know you're trying to please everyone, or...maybe not. LOL But the general seach was needed by people like me. I guess I'll get more housework done instead of trying to do some research on my plants.

Thanks for letting me vent...the washing machine calls...


Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Just a common name is all you have to know.

Type in Cosmos in the common name field and up they pop...same with marigolds, morning glory, maple. No need to know any fancy names.

I rarely use botanical names to start with...unless I'm sitting there with the word in front of me...I mis-spell easily. That's one thing that the old search lacked..if you didn't know the spelling, you were sunk. I've Googled more plant names for proper spelling than I care to count. This way, the system will let you know when you didn't spell something right. I'm still playing with it, but am really liking's way more forgiving than the old search.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I wonder if Dave can add something to make it clear that you don't need to (and really shouldn't) try to fill in ALL fields to start your search...

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Might be a good idea Terry..that's how I started playing with it...and just because I wasn't getting results...and knew that Dave surely made it more simple than harder...I started experimenting.

After I figured it's a breeze...but I did have a few moments of confusion.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I know I have a huge bias (since I'm the one who asked for this new search), but I honestly think it will make searching sooo much easier for users - as long as we can help them get off to a good start.

Switching from "contains" to "exact match" is very helpful too. Last night I was searching for Echium entries, and was getting several Sechium entries in with the results. A quick switch to "exact match" and voila! I had exactly what I was looking for in my search results.

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

The problem comes when you get trades - sometimes people just write a word on the packets, in lousy handwriting, and you're left trying to figure out what the devil you have., with no clue as to whether they've given you the family, genus, species, cultivar, ???

Perhaps we could have a special "Search for Dummies" button?

Meant to add - I totally agree this is MUCH faster when you know the common name, or have enough info to go right to the appropriate box andhave at it. I'm really not trying to be critical - you guys are really fabulous!

This message was edited Mar 19, 2005 11:13 AM

Spokane Valley, WA(Zone 5b)

Say, when did the 'generalized search' link become available on the search page? I don't remember seeing the "If this confuses you, try our generalized search" comment yesterday... :)

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I think it means Dave has listened to the concerns, and obliged us with a link to the "old" search ;o)

Yes, I just forgot to announce it. :-)


Spokane Valley, WA(Zone 5b)

I think ya'll are just testing me. LOL

Thank you for *ALL* three options!!!


P.S. Didja know that the "Add the PF Search to your Firefox browser!" also works now?! Woo Hoo! *grin*

This message was edited Mar 19, 2005 12:14 PM

Muscoda, WI(Zone 4b)

Yep! A "Yahooooooooo!" here too! Thanks Dave!!

Guess I can quite doing laundry now, eh? LOL

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Dave - you really ARE the best!!! (Even if you do like to tease us!)

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