interactive plant identification wiki

What are your thoughts on something like this?
Wouldn't it be nice to have a plant sample in hand and be able to input the charachteristics of the plant to identify it?
Start with a blank template. Choose the most basic trait i.e. evergreen or deciduous (check one) Grows outdoors in zone X.
Now we have eliminated either deciduous or evergreen plants (whichever was not chosen) right there we elimintaed thousands of plants.
By choosing the zone the plant grows in outdoors we have eliminated all plants that absolutely will NOT grow in that zone; i.e. a plant that olny grows in the tropics will not survive in USDA zone 2. ( I think you see what I am getting at...)
What are your thoughts on something like this? I always see "can you help me ID this plant" postings here and had this seed of a thought so I thought to plant it here and see what might grow out of it...
Mr. Bill
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I think that what you have proposed is a wiki for what is called a botanical key. Botanical keys exist now. They work fine for experts but they're too complicated for most people. The details that distinguish one plant from another are often technical or depend on looking at the flower of the plant. Most people (including me) don't know the technical identifying aspects of plants or the words to describe them, and flowers are often not available. Your idea might work for a limited number of plants, the ones that people often ask about, especially if pictures were included.
Andrew

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Mr. Bill wrote:

I think you would obviously have to eliminate container plants as they could be more 'tropical' than the zone would suggest, but overwintered indoors. So, for 'wild' or garden planted stuff, it would at least eliminate many species, but likely many species could be eliminated by common sense anyway. Obviously a dandelion is not an oak tree. So, as others suggested, similar species may require an expert anyway. It's a good suggestion, but probably not without some chance of confusion/failure.
Carl
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What you are describing has been already presented in the XID product on a CD called 1,000 Weeds of North America. The plant feature selection system is much more friendly than the botanical keys used by biologists. This product is available at several websites including the World of Weeds.
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What if I am trying to ID something that is not a weed? Only 1000 weeds? I think I have every one of them in my yard. Not that I call them weeds, heck at least they are green...
Mr. Bill
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