The project is already underway with data entry and the ongoing construction of a leaf search tool that will expand to include flower shape, plant type, bark, roots and other traits.
The Twigzy plant database was begun in 2011 to fill a current void in searchable plant data online, with the eventual goal of becoming the most complete plant morphology resource.
An unfilled gap in accessing information
The idea came after Charles Sanderson, the database 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 tackling such a daunting task, he explains “Nobody's doing this - not the way it should be. Other databases require advanced Botany degrees and University credentials - or don’t cover a large enough region or plant type. Even previously planned projects never quite grew beyond their dream. Everyone should be able to find their plant - easily.”
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 add an educational component, expand search capabilities and pull in more data to flesh out its usefulness. 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.
Turning to Crowdfunding
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 Kickstarter campaign can be viewed here: https://www.kickstarter.com/
For more information about Twigzy or to schedule an interview with Charles Sanderson please email to contact above or send a tweet to @twigzyplants.