A new year is dawning, and a new program is dawning for the Rare and Unusual Plants committees. We have developed a new set of web pages that make data from the chapter’s rare and unusual (locally rare) plants database more easily accessible and also provide easy links to other sources.
For the past year, our Unusual Plants Committee Tech Team has been exploring options to increase awareness and usage of the data we have compiled. As part of this process, we have developed a series of web pages with lists that provide most of the different kinds of data people are looking for in our database. Many users are searching for similar information and now, rather than having to search the database, filling in the various parameters, they can just go to the web page and get the data instantaneously! There are still links to the database, and other sources as well, for more extensive or detailed data if needed.
The data are presented in lists that can be downloaded as CSV files (simple plain-text files), and we have tried to include all of the different kinds of information a database user might want. For example, there is a complete list of the rare and unusual plants in the East Bay, plus a list for each rarity rank—local, state, and federal. For each plant on each list, we provide a link to a page with more data on that particular plant and its populations in the East Bay, plus links to the database and other sources.
Lists are available by location as well—for example, Briones Regional Park—with links for more details on each plant listed. Other lists include Plants Reaching Their Range Limits In The East Bay, Extirpated Plants, Plants With Only One Population In The East Bay, Plants Not Seen Recently, and many more.
Note that locations on these public web pages are general to protect plants from poaching, vandalism, and trampling from “over-admiration.” Coordinates and specific location descriptions are available to field volunteers and others who need them.
Some types of information will still only be available through accessing the database, but we expect these “shortcut” web pages will fulfill most users’ needs.
Please take a look at this new website at rareplants.ebcnps.org, and let us know what you think. Are there other types of information that should be added? Is it informative and helpful? Would you use it, and how would you use it, or what would you use it for? Are there other kinds of improvements we can make? Is the format and design attractive and inviting?
— Dianne Lake, Unusual Plants Committee Chair, CNPS East Bay Chapter