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Plant Database

Mt. Cuba Center thoroughly documents and maintains information about the thousands of plants in our gardens. Using cutting-edge technology, our staff identifies, labels, and inputs detailed information about plants into a customized plant records database, called BG-BASE. Today, there are well over 6,400 accessions of plants representing more than 2,200 different kinds of plants (taxa) growing in our gardens.

Plant Mapping

All accessioned plants in our gardens are mapped using sophisticated surveying equipment and computerized mapping software, called BG-Map. More than 11,000 plants and plant groups have been mapped and more are mapped each year. Our computerized plant records database and mapping system function together as an integrated tool for maintenance and study of plants in the garden.

Botanical vs. Common

Common plant names are rich in regional tradition and heritage. However, because of this, differences in nomenclature often arise according to locality, language, and custom.

For example, the plant Podophyllum peltatum L., is often referred to as a “may apple” in the United States. However, in many European countries, it is called the “American mandrake”. In France, it is a “podophylle pet”, and in French Canada, it is called a “pomme de mai”.

Even further confusion is observed when a common name is used for two different plants. Bluebells, for instance, can refer to both Mertensia virginica (a spring ephemeral native to the United States), and Scilla hispanica (a spring bulb native to Spain).

To avoid confusion, Mt. Cuba Center identifies and labels plants with Latin, botanical names.