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Frequently Asked Questions

I found incorrect identification(s)!

We're grateful for any corrections we receive. Please tell us what to fix, and preferably, how you were able to make a positive ID, so we can add this information to the web site. To identify a particular image, hover the mouse over it and its filename will appear.

If you see a small icon at the right edge of the caption under each image, it is a warning that we are not sure about the ID. Move the mouse over the icon to see the warning.

Can I participate?

Absolutely! We need better identifications, more photos, technical drawings, and more descriptive articles. Details here.

Why don't pages look right in my browser?

It's impossible to test on all the combinations of browser, computers, and software versions. In some simple testing we have found many problems, especially with older browsers. Even with the newer ones there are difficulties. We are addressing these problems as best we can. In the meantime, if one browser doesn't work, you might want to try another one.

How can I print these pages without wasting ink?

Click the "Invert" button at the top. It changes the color scheme to use a white background so you can print. It will remember the change if you have cookies enabled.

I copied some text from your web site and pasted it into another application, but it is invisible. What do I do?

This happens because the site uses white text on a dark background. You can set the pasted text back to black. Or click the "Invert" button to change to a dark-on-white color scheme and recopy the text.

This is a .com. Are you making a profit?

We chose FloraFinder.com because FloraFinder.org was taken. But we have no plans for ads and we fund the site ourselves.

Can I use these images elsewhere?

Most images are accompanied by a "more info" box that you can click to display the copyright (and other) information for the image. Here are details about our copyright policy.

You used something without permission or proper attribution!

Please let us know, and we will remove the image or correct the attribution error as soon as possible.

How can I find out if you have used my images?

Type the copyright holder's name into the search box to list all the species pages that contain at least one photo from that source.


What is a cultivar?

A cultivar ("cultivated variety") is a plant that has been selectively bred by botanists, to emphasize desired traits such as color or robustness. There are a very large number of these varieties, and we are not aware of a single comprehensive listing of them. Most are listed only in the catalogs from various breeders. Because of the sheer numbers of cultivars, and because most aren't found in the wild, we don't stress them on this site. We're happy to add them to the database though.

Why don't you list information for gardeners?

This site focuses on wild plants of North America. This includes native plants as well as plants from elsewhere that now grow wild (these are called "naturalized" plants). Most garden plants are cultivated, and relatively few escape into the wild. We list these cultivated varieties only haphazardly. There are a wide variety of excellent gardening sites, which cover gardening with native plants as well as with cultivars.

How do you determine plant sizes?

We estimate the actual size of some of the photos on this site. If the camera has recorded the camera-to-subject distance, and the photo was taken at relatively close range, it is possible estimate the width and height of the field of view at the focused distance from the camera. This only works at close range, where the zone in focus is very shallow. The measurements apply to the whole photo, not to the subject of the photo.

How can I take better plant photos?

Here are some suggestions based on our experiences.

What tools did you use to create this web site?

We start with Adobe Lightroom, an elegant application for managing photo collections. We assign metadata in Lightroom, principally species and location info, and fine tune the photos. Then we export three sets of photos, at thumbnail, medium and large sizes. These are the images listed in the right column of each page.

We wrote a custom content generator, which reads the photo metadata and merges photos of the same species. The content generator also manages a species database with information about each species, merging in data from the USDA Plants Database. This is used, along with a set of templates, to generate the complete web site, and the species, common name, and comprehensive indices. Here is an article on the range maps.

Images from external sources, such as Wikimedia Commons, require more tracking of copyright and attribution information than Lightroom can manage, so these images are managed in a separate database.

For those interested in the details, the web site presently conforms to strict HTML 4.01. It uses PHP and MySQL, and conforms to XHTML syntax rules (mostly).

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