November 15, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 20)


Strong Points: Nice images
Weak Points: Must know scientific names to access data


While the word “cuticle” may evoke images of human skin, the Cuticle Database is focused on a different type of “skin”: that of plants. A joint initiative of researchers at Northwestern University, the Field Museum, the Florida Museum of Natural History, and Pennsylvania State University, the Cuticle Database provides images of upper and lower cuticle surfaces of leaves with the goal of facilitating plant and fossil identification. Each entry in the database is accompanied by metadata such as the source herbarium, contributor, and specimen number. Users can search the database by plant family, genus, or species. Unfortunately, there is no option to simply browse the collection (or to search by common plant name). Thus, unless you know your scientific plant nomenclature, you’re out of luck.

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