Recently the Nelson Botanical Society hired the SeniorNet Learning Centre to learn how touse a new interactive computer based key, which will enable identification of any of the 53species of Coprosma currently recognized in New Zealand. Lindsay Hunter also attended, notjust to keep a watchful eye on the computers, but also out of curiosity to see for himself howthis web-based key works.
A senior botanist gave an introduction on how to use the key. In general terms identificationis made by keying in various characters of the Coprosma species in hand, usually startingwith a precise feature such as the leaf measurements. There are many photos of each of thespecies available in the program, including fruit and flowers. There are also very clear writtendescriptions of the special features of the Coprosma species. Apart from a computerconnected to the Internet, the most important tools required are a hand lens and a ruler. Then,for hands on practice, a selection of fresh specimens of several species of Coprosma wasavailable for members to choose from. All agreed it was much more fun than trying to makethe identification from a book, though not always straightforward as some of the plantfeatures were quite subtle.
SeniorNet members with a botanical interest in our New Zealand native plants might like tohave a play with the key at: this webpage.