This month I decided to take a break from the heavy academic stuff and talk about a couple of interesting Web sites I recently discovered. The first site is just for visual enjoyment. It is the Flowerbase from the Netherlands (http://www. flowerweb.nl/flowerbase/)- This site contains a database of over 7000 beautiful photographs of flowers. You can search the database by botanical name or common name in English, German, Spanish, Dutch, French, or Italian. The results of a search returns a list of plant names (botanical and common in all the languages) meeting your search criteria and thumbnail pictures of the flowers. Clicking on the thumbnail pictures brings up a larger high resolution version of the picture. A search on the English common name 'hibiscus" for example, returned 34 hits and a search on the botanical name "Rosa" returned 177 hits. If you feel in the mood to relax and enjoy a visual feast, this is a site you must visit.
The second site not only contains photographs but a wealth of information as well. This site, Plant Advisor - Southwestern Edition (http:// www.plantadvisor.com/) focuses on plants of the low and mid deserts of the Southwest. It includes a Plant Advisor that allows you to select plants by sun exposure requirements, water use, and basic landscape use (e.g., ground cover, feature plant, background plant, etc.) and a Plant List that allows you to select plants by botanical or common names. Information returned from searches of the database includes photographs of the plant, water and sun requirements, planting guidelines, and a brief discussion of insect and disease susceptibilities. In addition, there are lots and lots of links to other plant related sites. All in all, this a very useful site that is certainly worth adding to your bookmark list.