The Twigzy plant database was begun in 2011 to fill a current void in searchable plant data online, eventually becoming the most complete plant morphology resource.
An unfilled gap in accessing information
The idea came after Charles Sanderson, the database’s creator, became frustrated with available resources online. “I tried mobile apps. I scoured books. I searched every corner of the Internet. ... Often, I waited for somebody to look at the uploaded leaf photo and get back to me. I was not happy with how long it took to narrow down results.” says Sanderson.
When asked why he is taking on such an enormous task, he explains “The first question I often get is an incredulous ‘Nobody's done this already?’ Nope. Not the way it should be done. There are resources out there, but they often require a Masters degree in Botany and University credentials - or they don’t cover a large enough region or plant type. Even previously announced projects never quite grew beyond their dream. Everyone should be able to find their plant.”
A visit to the website shows it is already more than just a database, with news articles from across the world of botany a growing thesaurus and listings of botanical institutions around the world.
The project’s next steps
Now, after three years of research and laying the groundwork, Sanderson is looking to expand capabilities and pull in more data. His plans for Twigzy include the ability to visually identify plants by a much wider array of factors than simply leaf shape or flower color. There will be gardening-specific searches, and various useful tools such as a comprehensive list of plants poisonous to certain animals, or what plants might be used for.
Maybe the ability to learn more about the plant kingdom will inspire us to save our environment. We might discover that plants are cooler than we thought - not to be taken for granted! Knowledge is power, after all! I just want to make that knowledge easily accessible by the world.”
Campaign funds will be used to cover the costs associated with adding these search functions and populating the database, as well as increasing server security and adding members’ areas.
In return, Kickstarter backers will receive varying levels of annual membership access to the site’s more advanced search capabilities (Many searches will always be free to the public). Other rewards include shirts, choosing what plant a video will be about, and having a tree planted in your name. Those who pitch in enough will be given opportunities to be involved in what search functions and news articles are available. This may appeal to smaller botanical institutions.
Help fund this campaign and you could find yourself growing incredible gardens or amazing friends with your knowledge on that next trail hike! The campaign launches Tuesday, August 19, 2014. Preview the Kickstarter campaign here.
For more information about Twigzy or to schedule an interview with Charles Sanderson please email via media contact or send a tweet to @twigzyplants.
The Kickstarter campaign can be previewed here: