Current projects

1. Creating a matrix key for the identification of Lachenalia

Most people are aware of dichotomous keys used to determine species from their characteristics.

The case for dichotomous keys:

Dichotomous keys are the most common keys encountered. They may be laid out in various ways, but usually form a series of numbered questions arranged in “couplets” as shown below:

1. Bark on trunk smooth .......................... 2
Bark on trunk rough ............................ 3
2. Bark mostly white ............................... 4
Bark other colours .............................. 7

Each time a question is answered, the user is directed to the number of a new question-couplet. This continues until, instead of a number, the name of the species (or other taxon) is given. This type of key is called a “dichotomous” key because the meaning of the word is "two branching", although in practice dichotomous keys often have questions with more than two choices.

The case for matrix leys:

Multi-access keys, such as those built using Lucid, have in their database character information about the taxa that are to be identified. When the user of a multi-access or matrix key chooses a character state of a selected character in the key, the taxa that have that character state are retained; taxa that have a different character state for the selected character are discarded. When another character is chosen, the same process is repeated with the remaining taxa. Since computers easily handle repetitive tasks at high speed, they are ideal for multi-access keys, which depend on a complete check of all the taxa in the key's database each time a question is answered.
Since multi-access keys allow you to start with any character you choose and to proceed in any order you choose, these keys do not suffer from the unanswerable couplet problem encountered in dichotomous keys. Further, in using a multi-access key you can avoid characters that are difficult for you to distinguish or are not appropriate for your specimen, another advantage of multi-access keys over dichotomous keys.
Ultimately, when using a multi-access key, all taxa except the one that matches your specimen may be eliminated. However, if you cannot eliminate all the taxa, you will be left with a small group of taxa that can then be compared more closely.

Information from Lucid.

Eventually this project will be extended to include other genera of interest to the site.

2. Creating a library of reference material regarding Lachenalia

This project will also be extended to other genera of interest.

3. Creating a photograph gallery of Lachenalia (including cultivars) to aid in identification.

This project will also be extended to other genera of interest.