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ERIC Number: EJ1118101
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9266
An Interactive Multimedia Dichotomous Key for Teaching Plant Identification
Jacquemart, Anne-Laure; Lhoir, Pierre; Binard, Fabian; Descamps, Charlotte
Journal of Biological Education, v50 n4 p442-451 2016
Teaching plant identification includes demonstrating how to use dichotomous keys; this requires knowledge of numerous botanical terms and can be challenging, confusing and frustrating for students. Here, we developed a multimedia tool to help students (1) learn botanical terms, (2) practice, train and test their knowledge of plant identification and (3) self-evaluate their level of learning. We generated an interactive dichotomous key for about 280 species of vascular plants from Belgium and the surrounding territories to help teach botany and plant identification to university students. To make the identification keys user friendly and appealing, we constructed databases with several thousand interactive links, including a descriptive and illustrated glossary (explaining more than 800 botanical terms with original drawings). This interactive multimedia dichotomous key includes family, genus and species descriptions, basic plant evolution and life cycles, as well as quizzes and tests. The description sheets present plant morphology, vegetative and reproductive characteristics, distribution area, ecology and classification (following Angiosperm Phylogeny group APGIII). The website is available at Here, we used plant identification as a model to apply the principles of dichotomous keys; the same approach could be applied to all disciplines within systematics.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A