eFl keys, a synergy of Botany and love for plants

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Gurcharan Singh

Mar 28, 2011, 8:29:44 AM3/28/11
to efloraofindia, Dinesh Valke, Prashant awale
Yesterday I had uploaded a key for the identification of Genera of Solanaceae, followed up by a key to Indian species of genus Solanum. The idea was to keep the key as simple as possible, so that even non-botanists can also take advantage of it. We toyed with the idea of perfect format, and finally settled with bracketed (parallel) keys. Prashant ji and Dinesh ji were nice enough to examine the key and prepare a short guideline for persons who are not familiar with the working of keys. This help can be used for all the keys which will be uploaded in future also. We will have it placed at suitable place in the website. I am reproducing it below for the benefit of those who are not familiar with such keys. Perhaps we may soon find away to upload more convenient interactive keys in future. I am exploring the possibility. One such key is available at my homepage (click lower key for genera; you should have Java loaded on your computer):

The following guidelines are prepared by Dinesh ji and Prashant ji for Keys on our eFl website

The first column is very simply Serial Numbers ... broken into two a) and b)
Notice that keys (descriptions) in 2nd column, written against every serial number are quite distinct (as much as opposite in nature ... for example: a) spines present ... b) spines absent).
The 3rd column is the decisive coulmn.
Based on the description that is true for the plant whose ID is sought, the contents of 3rd column will guide us where to go next.

Thus, let us take a case:
1a   Perfect stamens less than 5, or if 5 not all equal            (2) 
1b.  Perfect stamens 5, all equal                                         (5)

Suppose the flower of our plant has Perfect stamens 5, all equal, then   (5)
Thus go to serial no. 5 ... forget all the other serial numbers 2 to 4
5a   Fruit fleshy when mature, not splitting to dehisce(6) 
5b   Fruit  a dry capsule, splitting to dehisce(15)

Now, suppose the fruit of our plant splits to dehisce, then jump directly to serial no. 15.
15a   Capsule circumscissile (opening through a lid.     (16) 
15bCapsule opening lengthwise or bursting irregularly.   (17)

Here if 15b is true, jump to 17

17a   Fruiting calyx reflexed, much shorter than capsule.(18) 
17b.  Fruiting calyx not reflexed, nearly covering the fruit. 17.   Nicotiana

If 17b is true, the ID of our plant resolves to Nicotiana genus.

Dr. Gurcharan Singh
Retired  Associate Professor
SGTB Khalsa College, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007
Res: 932 Anand Kunj, Vikas Puri, New Delhi-110018.
Phone: 011-25518297  Mob: 9810359089

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