General Instructions
(To exit this help sheet, close this window on your browser by clicking the "X" in the corner.)
1. Select options from the categories on the search form. Complete as few or as many items as you want.
2. Click the "Display Matching Plants" button to search the database using the items you selected on the form. The "Clear Form" button resets the form. These buttons are located both at the top and bottom of the form.
3. Once the results page appears (this may take a moment), use the scroll bar on your browser to view the records of matching plants. If the database finds no matches, a message screen will appear. Simply click the "back" button on your browser or the "New Search" link to amend your search.
4. Click the phrase "Click Here" next to each record to view information and pictures of that species in the plant profile page. The record will open in a new window on your browser window on top of the search results page. For easier viewing, you can maximize this new window.
5. To again view the list of matching plants, close the window of the plant you are viewing (click the "x" in the corner) or simply click the matching plants screen underneath the new window.
6. Click "New Search" at the bottom of the search results page or elsewhere on the site to start over. This will bring you back to the search form. At the bottom of the form is a link to the UConn Plant Database homepage.

 

Note: If you know the common name or genus/species of a plant for which you are searching but are unsure of its proper spelling, enter a partial fragment of the name (of fewer letters than the real spelling) in the appropriate category in the "Name" section of the form. The database will search for word fragments and will most likely find your intended plant.

For example ... Your neighbor told you the name of the beautiful shade tree next to his house and you want one, but he used the Latin name and you can't really remember it. The genus name was long and was something like "Cerci------". Well, that's all you need. Type "cerci" into the genus category and the database will find "Cercidiphyllum", the katsuratree next door.


Suggestions for Improving Your Searches

1. Start Small and Work Your Way Up: The Plant Selector is a powerful resource which categorizes approximately 600 woody trees, shrubs and vines according to over 20 traits which you select on the search form. It is tempting to select a trait for each category listed, but this is NOT recommended. The odds of finding a matching "magic bullet" plant on your first try are not high, as THE PROBABILITY DECREASES STEADILY FOR EACH CATEGORY YOU SELECT.

Here is an example of what happens if this principle is NOT followed:

You Select Results
Plant Form = medium shrub
Flower Display = very showy
Flower Color = white No Matching Plants Are Found
Fall Foliage Color = red
Fruit Quality = very showy
Sun Exposure = half shade
Deer Resistance = yes

Explanation: This search involves seven characters -- too many. In other words, a particular plant species must have all seven of these qualities to be found by The Plant Selector. The odds of there being such a "magic bullet" plant are very low.
Strategy: Run a series of searches, start small, and add characters as you go along.

Here is an example of this strategy in action (adding one more category each time):

You Select
Results

Plant Form = medium shrub

The database finds 93 matching plants.

Flower Display = very showy




...It's a start, but this search is too broad. Add to the search.

 

Plant Form = medium shrub

 

The database finds 44 matching plants.

Flower Display = very showy

Flower Color = white



...This is progress, but refine the search even further

 

Plant Form = medium shrub

 

The database finds 8 matching plants.

Flower Display = very showy

Flower Color = white

Fall Foliage Color = red




...This is a useful search.

 

Plant Form = medium shrub

 

The database finds 3 matching plants.

Flower Display = very showy
Flower Color = white
Fall Foliage Color = red
Fruit Quality = very showy



...By adding more categories, the number of matches plunges.

 

Plant Form = medium shrub

 

The database finds 1 matching plant.

Flower Display = very showy
Flower Color = white
Fall Foliage Color = red
Fruit Quality = very showy
Sun Exposure = half shade



...A "magic bullet" plant? Perhaps. But look at the matching plants from previous searches, as well. You may be excluding useful matches.

 

Plant Form = medium shrub

 

The database finds 0 matching plants.

Flower Display = very showy
Flower Color = white
Fall Foliage Color = red
Fruit Quality = very showy
Sun Exposure = half shade
Deer Resistance = yes


...The laws of probability win. No plants have all these traits.

Explanation: Note how the number of matching plants decreases every time more characters are added to the search. But, by starting small and progressively becoming more complex, the searches are much more revealing and useful

2. Prioritize Your Needs and Search for Those Characters First: Since the number of matching plants decreases every time a new character is added to the search, identify the trait(s) that are most important to you and include these in your searches first before adding "luxury" items.

For example ... if you live in deer country and want a small tree, only include these items in your first search. Then, go further and include other characters such as "fragrant flowers" and "yellow fall color" in subsequent searches.

3. If a Character is Not Important to You, Leave it Blank on the Form: There is no need to indicate a choice for every character on the search form, and doing so will often impair your search and eliminate plants that otherwise match your needs.

For example ... if you are unconcerned with the provenance of your small shrub or the color of the stems matters little to you, leave these options blank on the form. Follow this principle for all the characters listed on the search form.

4. Remember, the Traits in the Plant Selector Apply to the Natural Species: Many plants in the nursery trade are available predominately as cultivated varieties (cultivars) of a naturally-occurring species (i.e. -- Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford', the Bradford cultivar of Callery Pear). Plant breeders and horticulture enthusiasts have selected unique varieties of many species for differences in flower color, height, leaf color, etc. However, most of the plant listings in this database are classified according to the qualities of the species AS IT APPEARS IN NATURE. Use the traits listed in the "Cultivars" section of the search form to locate specialized varieties.

For example ... if you are looking for a weeping plant, a dwarf variety or a plant with variegated leaves (among other things), select these traits in the "Cultivars" section of the search form. Plants matching these traits will NOT be found with a regular search.