Find The Data–On Plants

So here’s a new thing. is a new site dedicated to gathering data in such a way that allows side-by-side comparisons to be made. And there’s a lot of plant stuff here.  Let’s have a look, shall we?

The Plants Database pulls data from USDA sources, but puts it in a format that makes it easier to search by particular characteristics or do side-by-side comparisons of plants.  Searching for plants by various qualities yields some weird results–a search for fall-blooming annuals turned up only one plant, and it’s a plant that sounds like it comes right out of a Monty Python movie–Smallfoot Beggarticks.

Okay, moving on!  You can also pull all kinds of data about botanical gardens–I did a search for botanical gardens that do ethnobotanical research and operate a tram, and got a list of four institutions (Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Hawaii, in case you’re wondering.)

There’s also a list of farmers markets. I made a map of all the farmers markets within 20 miles of Iowa City:

You can also compare wine grapes or green restaurants.

I am perhaps most interested in the booze ratings, which pull scores and awards from several sources to give compiled data that can be put into side-by-side comparisons.  For instance, here’s gin:




OK, enough about gin.  What about the plants?  Given the fact that this site is really only pulling data that’s already been compiled and putting it in a more user-friendly form–what would be most useful to you, plant-wise?

I know what I’d like to see:  Seed and plant catalogs!  Give me one place where I can search seed and plant listings, compare, and then order.

The data is not always perfect and up-to-date, by the way.  I did a search for bookstores in Eureka, CA, and the bookstore I own wasn’t on the list–and we’ve owned it for almost five years, and we belong to bookstore organizations and are listed in the Yellow Pages.  Oh well.


Posted by on August 29, 2012 at 4:38 am, in the category CRRRITIC.
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6 responses to “Find The Data–On Plants”

  1. I took a look at recently too, and although it seems like it has potential, it’s not yet comprehensive enough — at least for plants and garden-related topics. Hope it keeps maturing!

    • Rachelle says:

      I have no problem when I am looking for information on a particular plant which I know is probably in the USDA database or one of the other good herbariums for my area like the Frieckman or WisFlora. This comparison thingee is absolutely next to useless! A better comparison or search type program is the one at the Chicago Botanical Garden website.

  2. BooksInGarden says:


    As Alan points out it is “”. leads one to a unrelated site – spying or PI, to be polite.

  3. Gail Carriveau says:

    Thanks for the tip on Wisflora! I’m from Wisconsin and wasn’t aware if it’s existence.

  4. […] Find The DataOn Plants Posted on September 1, 2012 by […]

  5. James @ Capital Gardens says:

    I hope this website’s plant section expands to include (as you said) plant and seed catalogs as it has the potential to be an extremely helpful tool. It’s almost a shame it doesn’t work like Wikipedia so people could add little bits to it here and there.

    Thanks for sharing,
    James @ Capital Gardens.