BLACKBURG, Aug. 29, 2000 --A new interactive multimedia tutorial for the identification of woody plants, developed over a six-year period by Virginia Tech in cooperation with tree identification experts at Oregon State University, the Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Georgia, has just been released by Kendall/Hunt Publishing. Woody Plants in North America is a two-CD set split into angiosperms (hardwoods) and gymnosperms (softwoods) and covers both native and ornamental woody plants found across North America.
"We believe it is likely the single largest collection of color photographs for native woody plants found in North America," said John R. Seiler, forestry professor at Virginia Tech.
The main authors, Seiler, John A. Peterson (Virginia Tech), and Edward C. Jensen (Oregon State) are all award winning educators and software developers. Both Seiler and Jensen have won the Society of American Foresters' Carl Alwin Schenck Award for excellence in forestry education. Their software has been tested on college students in controlled studies and shown to significantly increase identification skills.
The software includes a morphology section that illustrates common terms used to describe twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit, bark, and form of woody plants. The main body of the tutorial contains more than 9,500 pictures and full text descriptions of all plant parts for 470 species of woody plants.
Numerous photographs are annotated to highlight the most critical distinguishing features. Multiple pictures of important distinguishing features help users develop a "feel" for normal variation expected in the field. For example, bark is often shown for numerous developmental stages of a tree. Each feature of similar species can also be compared side by side with the most distinguishing features highlighted. Range maps, summary descriptions, site information, and interesting tidbits are also given for each species.