Finding a photograph and using the indexes

Structure of the site

These days web pages of large web sites are often built on the fly when you make a request (see BSBI maps for instance) but this site which started before the days when PHP and server side facilities were easily available and so it consists of separate pages accessed by indexes. The indexes are what allow the site separation into categories such as European, Australian, British plants, Butterflies or Fungi.

It is quite possible to see over 2,000 different species or sub species of plant within about five to ten years - some have achieved that even faster. So far (September 2017) there are nearly 3,000 pages containing over 5,500 different photos and such a large number needs careful indexing if users of the site are to find the image they want.

Types of Index

The site is cumulative which means that the indexes only ever get bigger and bigger. For this reason there are two main types. The quickest to load and smallest in size consist of text only. The advantage is speed of access but there are no small photos to aid the user who would otherwise need to know either the spelling of the Latin or the English name of a species.

The second and most popular type of index has thumbnail photos of the species. The advantage is in looking at the photos to see if it is the species in which you are interested but the disadvantage will be felt by those who have slow internet connections for these pages, particular the A to Z, can take a long time to appear on the screen. Another kind of thumbnail index (Highslide) has been added fairly recently and allows the user to click on small thumbnail and see it expanded to a larger size as well as navigating to the page contain all the photographs of that species. It has not yet been completed though and covers only species with genus names from A to K.

Accessing Indexes

On the first page of the site all the indexes are available on the left hand side. Indexes with no sub index attached are dark blue when the mouse cursor is placed on them. Clicking these gives just one page or index. If the main menu item turns dark red, then there is an attached sub menu which will appear to the right of the main menu without clicking. There is a title to each sub menu describing what kinds of index are listed. The sub menu items can then be accessed by clicking. A return is effected by clicking "Home" or by using the back Button on the Browser. In one case there is another submenu which leads to the smaller thumbnail photo menus.

Detail

A to Z Indexes: The thumbnail index (A to Z) has only vascular plants but references all the plants on the site. The equivalent Text Index (Latin Index) is the major index for the whole site containing the Latin names of all the species, Plants, Birds, Butterflies etc. The only excluded category is scenery simply because there can be no systematic name describing a photograph of scenery. This Latin Text index also has a few synonyms which are "greyed out". However unlike the usual convention these "greyed out" names can be clicked and will result in a page with the new name for that species appearing.

For example if you click greyed out Orchis Morio then the page revealed will have Anacamptis morio in the title which is the new name for Green-winged Orchid. There is no necessity add new synonyms in the English Text index because taxonomists don't change the English or vernacular names except on very rare occasions to avoid confusion. There are of course many old synonyms. Bird's-foot Trefoil has about 70 other names.

A to B Index: Thumbnail Index. All plants on the site whose systematic name (Latin) begins with letters A to B.

C to D Index: Thumbnail Index. All plants on the site whose systematic name (Latin) begins with letters C to D.

E to K Index: Thumbnail Index. All plants on the site whose systematic name (Latin) begins with letters E to K.

L to O Index: Thumbnail Index. All plants on the site whose systematic name (Latin) begins with letters L to O.

P to S Index: Thumbnail Index. All plants on the site whose systematic name (Latin) begins with letters P to S.

T to Z Index: Thumbnail Index. All plants on the site whose systematic name (Latin) begins with letters T to Z.

A to Z Index of British Plants : Thumbnail and Text. All plants photographed in the British Isles and Ireland even if they are duplicated in the European index.

A to Z Index of European Plants : Thumbnail and Text. All plants photographed in Europe even if they are also found in the British Isles are in this index.

A to Z Index of Australian Plants : Thumbnail and Text. All plants photographed in Western Australia and Tasmania in 2007 are here including some of the South African and Mediterranean aliens.

There are gaps in all the thumbnail indexes which are of no significance. As the pages site is constructed by hand rather than generated via database on the fly, then leaving gaps helps the tedious manual updating process.

Highslide Indexes: Special Thumbnail Indexes. As explained above, the content and structure is similar to the other thumbnail indexes except that clicking on the name leads to the page but clicking on the thumbnail expands a photo to full size. Either by clicking on previous or next on the expanded image you can look at the next expanded photo. This means that once you click on the first thumbnail causing it to expand you can look at every photo in the index just by using the keyboard forward and back arrows or clicking on previous/next on the photo. Clicking on the body of an expanded large image reduces it back to a thumbnail.

You can even move the large image to a different place on the screen if you wish to compare it with another. At present (2011) only A to B, C to D and E to K for plants plus butterflies have been published as there is a lot of work involved creating these indexes. They are quite slow to load because the files are large. An A to Z Highslide index would be too big to load within a reasonable time and will not be created until we in the UK all have super fast rendering browsers and 100 Gbps broadband. Approximately 2050 is my guess. I'll be pushing up the Bellis perennis by then.

This month: Thumbnail. This index refers to the latest additions to the site for the current month. It includes new additions i.e. plant/butterfly etc. which aren't yet on the site and major changes and plus new photographs of existing plants. It has nothing to do with when the photograph was taken.

English Index: Text only. Like the Latin Index this has all the species on site but is more useful for beginners to botanising. Systematic names although essential are horribly unmemorable at first. If available, the plant names used are those given in New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace. The English Index is also more useful for Birds and Butterflies because they are more often named using the vernacular. It can be useful for another reason: Systematic names change more often than we would like so looking up a systematic name in a flora more than 10 years old could lead nowhere with the Latin Index but the usual English Name will not have changed. An example would be Bromus sterilis (Sterile Brome) from old floras has become Anisantha sterilis in modern ones but is still Sterile Brome. Some synonyms are included in the English Index but since a plant can have as many as 70 different names depending on where you are in the British Isles, including all of them is nigh on impossible. The weakness of an English names index arises because our language puts the adjective before the noun. Many who try this form of index will compromise by putting Early-purple Orchid under Orchid but I don't. All the English names in this index are as spoken or written. The other disadvantage comes with names of species from outside The British Isles. Some simply don't have English names so can only be included in the Latin index.

Cymraeg: Text only. Index of plant names (of plants I have actually photographed in Wales) in alphabetical order of their Welsh names but it has the English and Latin names too. Having been brought up in England I don't speak Welsh but I am Welsh by birth and ancestry. Wales is where I go most often for plants too so my friend Heulwen Bott has provided the translations. Occasionally I receive emails in Welsh and reply as though I understood. Good old Google Translate.

Ferns: Text and Thumbnail. This sub index includes all ferns, horsetails and clubmosses (which aren't real mosses) and any hybrids, introductions and aliens.

Grasses: Text and Thumbnail. This sub-index includes all grasses, sedges and rushes with hybrids, introductions and alien species.

Orchids: Text and Thumbnail. This sub index includes all orchids and hybrids photographed anywhere in the world.

Rarities: Text and Thumbnail. The rarities indexes uses the classification in New Flora of the British Isles Edition 3 to identify a rare British native plant.

In addition to these rarities there are other obvious rare plants which because of their status as member of difficult plant groups are not described in the latest edition of New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace (2010). Examples of such rarities would be rare Hawkweeds known only from one or two sites. In this case the rarity of a plant is estimated from the BSBI distribution maps or from the more detailed information found in published volumes of Flora of Great Britain and Ireland by Peter Sell and Gina Murell. It is quite possible for an introduced species to be rare for example Ludwigia x kentiana (Purslane hybrid) but there is no such classification available in Stace for these plants.

Fungi: Text and Thumbnail. This includes a few photos of identified fungi. There are more photos available but identification of fungi is tricky and expert help is usually needed.

Birds: Text and Thumbnail, English and Latin. Birds seem to fly away from me (except in Australia where they seemed to be much more tolerant of the close presence of humans) but I have managed a few photos now included on the site.

Butterflies: Text and Thumbnail, English and Latin. About eighty Butterflies and a few Moths are included in these indexes and many have been taken from close up. As butterflies are (like birds) most commonly referred to as the English name rather than the systematic name, indexes in both Latin and English order are included. Butterfly indexes are only available in Highslide format.

European: Text and Thumbnail. Holidays in early Spring on Mediterranean islands yield some photos of wonderful flowers so those too have been included even where they are the same species as those on the main British list. Because the potential for collecting new photos of British plant diminishes as the published number increases, the European accumulated total gets larger much quicker these days (over 830 in 2017). The European collection might well continue to show the biggest annual increase for some time. For this reason there is now a separate site for European flowers accessible from the main site or directly.

Australian: Text and Thumbnail. The single visit so far to Australia has yielded many photographs of colourful flowers many of which are endemic to this part of the world. Again there are too many simply to add to the main site so a separate sub-domain (it looks like a separate site) has been set up for these. There are now (2017) photos of over 440 plant species found in Australia on the site. This includes some of the many introductions.

Annual Diary: Some personal ramblings about collecting wildflower photos and site news.

Photo Diary: Some personal ramblings of a particular expedition or holiday but illustrated - rarely published as it takes quite a time to create one.

Links: Links to other sites with some relevance to Wild flowers in the UK.

Archive: Text only. This contains the previous "This month" indexes so a chronological sequence of additions to the site can be found here.

Scenery: Text only. Trips into the countryside always lead to a few landscape shots being recorded and there seemed no reason not to include such photos.

Habitat Indexes: Text only. There are a few of these such as Cheshire (All plants which have actually been photographed in my home county) and Channel Islands but there could be quite a few more in future.

Large Photos: Some pages have extra thumbnails pointing to pages with extra large photographs. These are aimed at the increasing number of people who use screens with resolutions of 1280 x 1024 and above. Anyone can link to them of course but the photo won't fit on your screen if your resolution is 1024 x 768 or less. These are being phased out in favour of expandable thumbnail photos (Highslide).

Names of Plants: The systematic names used on the British Isles part of the site are mostly in line with the lists published by the BSBI but these are only updated every few years and so new discoveries such as Sorbus whiteana (White's Whitebeam) have only recently been added. Very often there are no commonly accepted vernacular names (English) for a plant which has been photographed. An example would be Galactites tomentosa a European Thistle which occasionally grows in the south east or Cornwall. The name "Boar Thistle" was given in one Mediterranean flora so that has been used. In other cases such as hybrids there is rarely a vernacular name but one can usually be found to fit. Sub species have the name of the main species - this of course is one of the advantages of systematic naming that small variations in plants can be described and named. In some cases such as the Hieracia (Hawkweeds), Peter Sell and Gina Murell in their recent Flora have given English names to all these micro species and I use those names. The vasy majority of Australian species have no vernacular name and some don't even have a published systematic name.

Moving from page to page without using Indexes

At the top of the pages containing photos is a navigation bar. At the extreme left hand and right hand sides there could be zero, one or two small arrows:

Arrow all left Click to go back alphabetically through all the plants with this style of page.

Arrow all right Click to go forward alphabetically through all plants with this style of page.

Arrow British left Click to go back alphabetically through British species only.

Arrow British right Click to go forward alphabetically through British species only.

Arrow european left Click to go back alphabetically through European species only.

Arrow european right Click to go forward alphabetically through European species only.

Arrow Australian left Click to go back alphabetically through Australian plants only.

Arrow Australian right Click to go forward alphabetically through Australian plants only.

For plants the order will always be the Latin order even if you have originally selected the page via the English name. This is because the large number of pages (neraly 3,000) would all have to be duplicated and re-written.

At present (May 2012) you can use this navigation facility through all butterflies and moths pages and on plant pages beginning with A to Z.

Systematic names used on the site are mostly in line with the lists published by the Botanical Society of the British Isles or New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace (whichever is the most up-to-date). These sources are only updated every few years and so new discoveries may be missing. Sometimes there is no commonly accepted vernacular names (English) for a plant which has been photographed. An example would be Galactites tomentosa a European Thistle which occasionally grows in the south east or Cornwall. The name "Boar Thistle" was given in one Mediterranean flora so that has been used. In the case of problematic genera such as European Ophrys, databases such as World Check List have been used as a guide. In other cases such as hybrids there is rarely a vernacular name but one can sometimes be found to fit. Sub species have the name of the main species - this of course is one of the advantages of systematic naming that small variations in plants can be described and named.

Latin names

I am happy to use various terms for the published name of a plant: scientific name, systematic name or Latin name are all just as good as far as I am concerned. I add this because I read increasingly that we should not use the term "Latin name" when referring to the name of a plant. I regard this as utter nonsense. Plant names very often use name directly from Latin and the rules of plant nomenclature require that they must all obey the grammatical rules of that language whether the name uses a word derived from a modern language, Greek or perhaps someone's name.

 

Added on 8th Feb 07, amended 16th Oct 07, Nov 7th 08, Dec 23rd 08, Feb 2nd 10, updated 1st Mar 10, updated 29th Apr 10, updated Jun 4th 10, Jun 12 10

Updated 1st February 2011, 23rd February 2011, 20th May 2012, Sept 22nd 2017

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