The new draft vascular plant identification tool on E-Flora BC is already a fairly versatile and useful addition to the atlas. Using the tool can you help to find possible matches for plants that you would like to identify by selecting or searching for plant characteristics. These may include flowering period, flower characteristics (e.g. petal number, flower shape), inflorescence type, root type, or growth type (e.g. tree or shrub). The words that you can search for can include any characteristic that is used to describe a species in our atlas pages, which includes the text from the Illustrated Flora of British Columbia--the publication that we use to provide species descriptions on E-Flora. For example, try heart-shaped to call up species with leaves with heart-shaped bases.
But the tool is also really useful in other ways, and can help you learn about plants in general. You can use it as a general search tool to call up species by habitat, soil type, and more. A search for a habitat type can help you learn what occurs in that type, and about plant assemblies or groups of plant that grow together. For example, if you would like to learn about aquatic plant species in the province, you can select or search for the word 'aquatic' and call up listings of plants that are described as aquatic. Or search for 'aquatic' + 'lake' to find aquatic plants that prefer lakes. You can even search for 'floating' to learn which aquatic species float.
Using the tool search feature, you can also call up plants that are found on limestone, or on scree or talus slopes, on gravelly slopes, on sand, on beaches or in sand dunes, on seepage slopes, on cliffs, in alkaline sites, in bogs or even in BC's tundra. You can select the characteristics or features that we present on the tool page, or you can search for other words and terms of your own choosing that may occur in our atlas pages.
This search feature adds quite a bit of flexibility in how we can search and use E-Flora BC.