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North American Grasses on The Web

Several people have asked when the web site for the grass manual will be restored. A new site is in development and some aspects of the old site are available. To find a key, go to KeyBase, specifically Grasses of North America north of Mexico (currently the 7th listed project). Terminal taxa in the keys are linked to taxon pages in OpenHerbarium, a Symbiota instance that was built initially for areas outside the Americas but which I am now using to develop a web site that will, if funding is obtained, offer even more than the old web site. For now, we (Garrett Billings, Sandy Long, Alexandria Hart, and I) are focusing on making available the keys, illustrations, and descriptions. Our goals include having distribution maps generated directly from herbarium specimens and linking both the keys and descriptions to an illustrated glossary. We shall be contacting herbaria with respect to this last during the coming year. We are also looking at linking the pages to a multi-access key and enabling use of the semi-directed key generation tool that is in Symbiota. We shall also be revising the taxonomic treatment in some places but, for now, we simply wanted to provide access to the resources that had been available.

Early in December 2018, Gabriel Sánchez-Ken joined the project, contributing the spreadsheet he created in preparing a Checklist of Mexican Grasses (watch for Acta Botanica Mexicana 126). We (Gabriel plus those listed above) have used this to generate checklists for each of Mexico’s states and the Federal Capital Region (see under Flora Projects) and are in the process of comparing the data in the two treatments. There are several synonymy relationships to be resolved but we decided there was value in integrating the two resources immediately while we work on developing funding to make a web site that will serve all the countries concerned, and yes, this means looking into providing access in Spanish and French (plus, because I also work in Pakistan and Somaliland, enabling easy development of links for other languages such as Urdu, Pushto, Sindhi, Punjabi, and Somali).

The important news: Keys, descriptions, illustrations from FNA 24 and 25 are becoming available again.


Michael Piep

Assistant Currator, USU Intermountain Herbarium