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Leigh's Links -- May 1999

May 21, 1999- Tom Clothier's Garden Walk and Talk

Tom Clothier's website features some truly cool articles, photographs, anecdotes, and useful information, with most enjoyable style. He explains, "A few of the articles have been written by guest authors with real botanical or horticultural credentials." But his own essays, like "Botanical Binomials- What Do Plant Names Mean?" are chock full of wise sayings such as "Do not do business with a seller of seeds or plants that does not provide you with the botanical name of the plant," and "Systematics must be the most engaging area of Botany, because there is no level in the classification of plants which is not under assault." Things are pretty well summed up in the section titled "Non-Insect Pests," where, it is so profoundly witten, "Left alone, nature will provide the proper balance, but it is our destiny to interfere with nature at every opportunity." Site by Tom Clothier, Zone 5a, 20 miles southwest of Chicago, IL.(****)LF

May 20, 1999- Kansas Wildflowers

It would be great if all the United States of America each had at least one wildflower site like "Kansas Wildflowers" and all would link to each other. The method of indexing is most accommodating, with links to close up photographs and data organized by Common Name, Scientific Name, and Color, with a separate link for Native Grasses. Two new scintillating features on the site include the "Glossary" and "Nomenclature Authorites," a list of abbreviated author names, having short biographical entries for each. Not just another roadside wildflower guide, here flower children and professors alike can download their favorites for personal use and study at this site by Mike Haddock, Agriculture Librarian and Science Libraries Web Coordinator at Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.(****)LF

May 19, 1999- AGRALIN Desktop Library

AGRALIN is an acronym for "Agricultural Bibliographic Information System of the Netherlands." Its Desktop Library is loaded with biological, botanical, agricultural, and environmental databases, some with free access. The heavy-hitters are available by subscription through the Silver Platter Databases office in Boston. A snap to navigate, the Library is concisely organized into Shortcuts (direct links to library resources), Guide, and Services.The Bibliographies feature is great for students looking for citations to organize research papers, providing links or other means to search the contents of a number of major biological journals. At the Electronic Reference Desk find conversion tables, encyclopedias, dictionaries, glossaries, biographies, phone books, maps, and more! Site by Wageningen Agricultural University and the Agricultural Research Department DLO, Netherlands.(****)LF

May 18, 1999- Spanish Moss

Tillandsia usneoides is a plant capable not only of causing consternation to new property owners in Florida who fear it is a parasite devouring everything in the yard,  but improperly treated and brought into the home as decor, it can also result in an unwelcome onslaught of chiggers in all the wrong places. It is shrouded in myth, folklore and old wives tales, enjoying a long history of practical uses. It is also misnamed as a "moss," being in reality an epiphyte. Plants such as these can be made into very useful one page web gems, like this one titled "Spanish Moss- Its Nature, History and Uses." The text is well referenced with numerous links throughout to various authorities on the subject. Highly recommended for moss (information) gathering individuals, don't miss this site by Dennis Adams, Information Services Coordinator, Beaufort County Library, Beaufort, SC.(****)LF

May 17, 1999- The Phytochemical World

Now that the web has triggered an insatiable thirst for instant answers to type-in questions, it is good to see internet presentations accepted as Master's projects which once completed might otherwise languish in a filing cabinet for none to enjoy. This outstanding introduction to plant secondary metabolism assumes a general background in organic and biochemistry, providing molecular structures and biosynthetic pathways for a number of Flavonoids, Alkaloids, Phenylpropanoids, and Terpenoids. Case studies, such as "The Absinthe Drinkers," "Cocaine" and the scientific explanation of pink/blue hydrangea sepals are excellent choices to pique  interest in the subject of phytochemistry. Site by Michael Looney, Department of Plant Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.(****)LF

May 14, 1999- Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Dr. Alice B. Russell has several guides on the internet published through the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, and "Poisonous Plants of North Carolina" has a number of plants on its list that are found in everyday horticulture or in the wild just about everywhere plants are sold. Text entries, indexed by common and scientific names have at least one accompanying image. Most cool is the Search by Plant Part search engine, where, for example, if one wanted to narrow down what leaves might be poisonous (part) out in the yard (location), one need only check the appropriate boxes and voilá, a list of likely culprits! Site by Alice B. Russell, James W. Hardin, and Larry Grand, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.(****)LF

May 13, 1999- Duke University Wetland Center Everglades Field Trip

Part of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke, and under the direction of Curtis J. Richardson, The Wetland Center has been keeping tabs on the hydrology, nutrient cycling, and biology of the Florida Everglades for the last eight years. "Everglades Field Trip" is excerpted from a research project, and summarizes the Everglades, its formation (geology) and natural attributes with a look at anthropogenic effects and present day reclamation efforts. Hydrology, so far probably the least understood aspect of the Everglades, is introduced very well. Not until recently was it openly discussed that the Everglades are much bigger than the Park and the Water Conservation Areas (WCA). Now, even Floridians have a shot at understanding the world's most expensive wetland restoration, if they'll diligently check out this site by Spencer Crowley, Duke University, Durham, NC. (****)LF

May 12, 1999- USDA PPQ Scientific Services

The Biotechnology Permits page of this section of USDA's Plant Protection and Quarantine Division, in addition to providing services to aid applicants in the process of introducing genetically engineered organisms, has a valuable list of link resources for keeping botanists and biologists abreast of the times. The "Biology of Crop Plants" compiles useful summaries for 7 major crop species; a BSS Biosafety Library contains a collection of biosafety/risk assessment documents and resources. There's the Federal Noxious Weed List, Common Viruses In Plants and the State Virus List of widely prevalent viruses by state, as well as the elusive Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program (FWS) State Lists of Endangered Species, and U.S. Endangered Species Indices of Listed Flowering Plant Species. Site by John T. Turner,USDA, APHIS, PPQ, Riverdale, MD. (****)LF

May 11, 1999- Photomicrographs of Phytoplankton at the Clemson University Aquaculture Facility

There's always room for another Euglena or Chlamydomonas in the biologist's repertoire- this image collection represents members of the Bacillariophyceae, Chlorophyceae, Chrysophyceae, Cryptophyceae, Cyanophyceae, and Euglenophyceae at the Clemson University Aquaculture Facility. A Key to the Algae links genera to images containing an embedded scale. A brief written description of each alga is provided, references, and summary of the facility's work, all adding up to a well-rounded presentation at this site by Scott Davis, Clemson University, Clemson, SC.****LF

May 10, 1999- Wildflower Nirvana

Not just another flower-power website, Wildflower Nirvana is a mother lode of images for teachers and students seeking high quality photographic close-ups with focus directly on the flower or floral parts. Represented are Cacti and Succulents, Eastern United States Woodland Plants, Florida Wildflowers, Midwestern United States Prairie Plants, Orchids, and Puerto Rican Native Plants, all indexed by Common Name, Scientific Name, and Category (i.e Shrub, Tree, Annual, Perennial). The Florida collection is outstanding, offering a look at several plants seldom seen by the South Florida botanists, such as Cuthbertia ornata, Scutellaria arenicola, and Pogonia ophioglossoides, though like what's left of Florida native flora, the list is decidedly peppered with a few would-be natives from the West Indies and elsewhere. Altogether these photographs are worth a special trip! Site by Rufino Osorio ****LF

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