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Keys: the tools used for identifying plants

Keys are a widely used method for identifying plants. They vary in the way they are constructed. Many of the traditional paper-based keys are not particularly easy to use because of the unfamiliar terminology used within them. Modern keys use computer technology to try and overcome this problem. They aim to be more user-friendly with the choice often being able to be made between illustrations rather than written statements. A number of earlier interactive keys are still only available by purchase of a CD-ROM (e.g. Euclid, AusGrass, Orchid Genera and Families of Flowering Plants) but in recent years such keys have become increasingly freely available through the web, primarily through the Lucid and DELTA or Free DELTA sites. The Pea Key is an example of a Lucid key available in this way as are the Hakea and Solanaceae keys below. Examples of Delta keys can be seen on the Florabase Interactive Keys page for the Western Australian flora.

Extra keys will be added to this site as they become available.

  • Key to Hakea species of Australia (web-based Lucid key)
  • Key to Solanaceae species of Australia (web-based Lucid key)
  • Blackberry Identification tool is a key to introduced and native Rubus species in Australia (CD-ROM purchase only)
  • Launch Acacias of South Australia (dichotomous key). While there is an interactive key for the whole of Acacia in Australia, Wattle, it is presently only available by purchase of the CD-ROM, and so the traditional "dichotomous key" is provided here.

Algae Flora: The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia factsheets.

Algae Revealed: Pictorial keys and factsheets for selected southern Australian algae.

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Page last modified: 6-Feb-2013

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