ID Keys

These digital identification keys are tools to assist in determining the taxonomic affiliation of an unknown seed. Digital keys are easier to use than traditional dichotomous keys as features can be selected which best suit the seed in hand, in any order, and they have built in images and visual depictions of features to help the person attempting the ID. While knowledge of plant morphology is still helpful, detailed taxonomic and morphologic terminology is not necessary.

First time users of the digital key, please refer to the user guide:

ID Key was developed for common plant families using LUCID builder 3.3. It contains feature descriptors describing plant families when a family identification is needed for an unknown seed or fruit.

Unlike the traditional dichotomous key, this character-driven tool allows the user to choose which descriptive features best fit the seed or fruit in hand. This aids in determining the family of the unknown seed or fruit.

Each family has a number of identification features programmed into the ID key. If a seed feature is selected that does NOT occur in a particular family, the program will eliminate it from the possibilities. The user will see the number of potential families decrease and the eliminated families increase as they work through the ID key.


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A key to the propagules or fruits of 102 biosecurity-relevant species of the daisy or sunflower family Asteraceae. It was produced by CSIRO scientist Alexander Schmidt-Lebuhn at the Australian National Herbarium (CANB) in collaboration with and through funding from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.


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This key is an identification tool for seeds of invasive plants. The choice of species was based on an extensive survey of seeds and seed mixtures in trade, where the seeds of these invasive species were found as contamination.

A total of 143 species is included. All features are illustrated with botanical drawings so that no knowledge of botanical terms is needed, basic knowledge of plant morphology, however, is helpful. The keys link to complete species descriptions on the Q-bank – Plants website.All species are well illustrated by photographs showing distinguishing characteristics or invaded sites. This key is also available in French and Dutch.


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