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Plant Biographies by Sue Eland
That anyone should undertake the creation of such a vast and valuable project can only be accounted for by Sue’s admission about her own initial ignorance of the scale of the task. As she also says, it is not an exhaustive Encyclopaedia or an exact science that she has tried to create, but what she has produced is an extraordinary Encyclopaedia of plant knowledge, not easily found anywhere else. It is not only helpful in answering so many non-botanical questions that attach to a plant but also provides a wickedly time-absorbing trail of information that one can follow for hours on end, just by randomly beginning to browse through any part of the alphabetically arranged data set.
What I find most admirable is that Sue Eland decided to begin, and bring the whole project forward over the years, using her own resources to create this most attractive electronic Encyclopaedia. When JD Hooker decided that the Botanical world needed an index of all species that had been described, he sought both funding and professional help from all and sundry, even his personal friend Charles Darwin made a sizeable financial donation to ensure the Index Kewensis would succeed. It is today part of the online IPNI database supported still by Kew but with input from other institutions around the world. Sue, however, has created this amazing treasure house of plant information mainly through her own hard work, tempting others to provide data, with that simple ruse, ‘if you do not find the plant you seek in the index, do please tell me, and help me expand the overall use-ability of the work!’
Finally, let me say thank you to Sue for what she has created, and a welcome to the wonders of the plant kingdom in all its myriad facets to be found in this delightful and most helpful CD.
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