User Guide



Selecting Shape

When selecting shape, there may be more than one shape matching the seed in question that can be selected. The shape that best describes a seed is selected by clicking on the picture or name.

Selecting Colour

Seed colour is the dominant colour of the seed surface. The colour pattern of a seed can be described as solid, mottled and/or streaked (e.g. many Centaurea spp.), or iridescent (multi-coloured reflection), while the transparency can be opaque or translucent (light can be seen shining through the seed).

Selecting Surface Features

This category has 2 parts: surface quality and surface structures. Surface quality is described as either a shiny or dull seed surface. It may be difficult to determine on seeds without a smooth surface, and can be left unselected.

There are many surface structures available and more than one can be selected. Note that ‘Smooth’ can be selected if there are no obvious structures visible. Only record those structures that can be seen under low to medium magnification.

Selecting Size

The size feature has several ranges in millimeters for the length or diameter of the seed. Length refers to the long axis of the seed; if the seed is round, the diameter can be measured along any axis.

Selecting Hilum/ Attachment scar

This category describes the appearance and location of the hilum, if a seed, and attachment scar, if a fruit. Common characters are listed with pictures that illustrate them. Note that  ‘Not visible’ can be selected if the hilum or attachment scar is indistinct.

Selecting Suggested Families or Species

The suggested families or species are now listed in the top right working pane. Click on the name below the picture for a fact sheet of that family or species at any time during the process. Each fact sheet contains a description of family or species features and pictures of the seed or fruit.

There will likely be more than one family or species suggested by the key, as seeds share common features. At this stage, look through the pictures and the fact sheets of the suggested families or species and choose which family or species best fits the seed. If the suggested families or species do not fit the seed in hand, or too many or too few taxa remain to make a conclusion, review the selected features and remove those that are unclear. Review those seed families or species that are added from these actions to see if a better fit was achieved. The entire key can also be reset by clicking on the restart key button on the far left of the toolbar.