The ‘Identify’ button allows you to identify plants based on their morphology using taxonomic keys. The keys are sourced from KeyBase, an online repository and platform for storing, managing and deploying dichotomous identification keys.
KeyBase keys are arranged into projects. A project is a group of keys related to a specific taxonomic group (e.g. flowering plants) in a given geographic area (e.g. Australia). Linking and filtering of keys happens within a project. For the purposes of the Flora of Australia, the most relevant project is the ‘Flowering Plants of Australia’; all keys in this project, and only keys in this project, are accessible from within the Flora of Australia digital platform using a KeyBase plug-in.
Using KeyBase keys in the Flora of Australia
Begin on the Flora of Australia homepage.
Click the ‘Identify’ button. This takes you to the front page of the ‘Flowering Plants of Australia’ project.
By default, the key will open in the ‘Interactive’ view, as shown in the screenshot, below.
Note: the ‘Bracketed’ and ‘Indented’ views are currently only available in KeyBase and are not yet available in the Flora of Australia.
This page on the Interactive view is divided into four boxes: Current node, Path, Remaining items, and Discarded items. You operate the key by choosing and clicking on relevant leads in the Current node box. As you click through the leads, KeyBase will respond by moving taxa from Remaining items to Discarded items. When one item (taxon) remains, the identification is complete.
Path shows each step you have taken as you proceed through the key. At any time you can backtrack by clicking on a previously-chosen lead in Path, or clicking the Step back button located at top right of the Current node box. To restart the key completely, click the Start over button also located at top right of that box.
In Remaining items, taxa that have linked keys are annotated with a forward arrow, as shown in the following example:
Click on the forward arrow and KeyBase will take you to the linked key for that taxon.
Note that in the example above, Andrographis has no linked key, and is followed by a species name. In this case, Andrographis is a monotypic genus in Australia (i.e. there is only one species), so the key ends with the species name.
Using the Identify+Filter function in the Flora of Australia
You can also focus the list of possible taxa by identifying plants occurring in your region, as defined by the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA).
Begin with the ‘Filter’ function on the Flora of Australia homepage. The filter allows you to focus your search by narrowing down the list of possible taxa. It does this by accessing a smaller list selected by the user.
- On the homepage, click on filter. A text box appears entitled ‘Select filter’. A single click within this box will bring up all the available taxa lists, including those for all of Australia’s 89 IBRA bioregions (IBRA = Interim Biogeographic Regions of Australia. More information on the IBRA regions is at http://www.environment.gov.au/land/nrs/science/ibra).
- Select a collection within which you wish to search for your target taxon.
- Press ‘Submit’. A message bar will flash for a short time reporting ‘Filter updated’. (Note: selecting ‘Clear’ will allow you to select a different collection in which to search).
- Click on the Homepage again and you will see that the word ‘Filter’ in the header (at the top of the screen) has a red dot next to it. This indicates that the filter function is currently enabled.
- Click the ‘Identify’ button. After the front page of the key has loaded you will notice that there is a truncated list of possible taxa in the Remaining items box; these are the taxa with representatives occurring in the IBRA region you have selected.
- Operate the key as described above, choosing and clicking on relevant leads in the Current node box until only one taxon remains and the identification is complete.