Thursday, July 30, 2009

Database of useful plant species for the Denver region

Via the Wild Green Yonder, I found this google spreadsheet with over 100 plants well suited to the Denver area. The author explains:
...a wealth of information exists in print and online for researching and selecting guilds – check out Plants For a Future and the University of Minnesota’s nursery database for starters. Still, this species information is spread across several websites, it’s difficult to sort through, and it’s rarely specific to the climate you’re in. As a result, guild building isn’t always as user-friendly as it ought to be.

In response to this challenge, I’ve begun the Atriplex Project – an attempt to create a comprehensive open-source database of useful plant species for Denver’s bioregion of the shortgrass steppe. Its current incarnation is a google spreadsheet that anyone can edit and export, although down the line it would be great to develop it into a more user-friendly standalone website.

What a great idea! This type of open information exchange is just what the internet is great for, and it looks like the author is happy to have other people help.

A side note about Plants for a Future--I wanted access to a sample of their database a month or so ago, and wrote them email, but they didn't seem too responsive. Based on the home page note:
The Plants For A Future charitable company has a new management team, and we are working on plans to redevelop the Plants For A Future website and database. Some of the information on this website about the organisation is out-of-date and misleading. The database continues to be available from this site.
and the blog entries, it seemed that they're going through changes right now. But the data is still good!