RESOURCES: Botanical Garden

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Science  02 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5505, pp. 795
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5505.795d

Plant scientists, students, and weekend gardeners alike will marvel at the knowledge nurtured at Botany Online—The Internet Hypertextbook. Hosted at the University of Hamburg, the site was originally written in German and is now being translated into English. And branching out to a wider audience is a good thing, for the site brims with botany lore and links.

Fifty-eight chapters cover botany basics, from cell structure to Mendelian genetics to molecular reactions in plants. Accompanying the clear text are many images and movies: micrographs of cells, interactive molecular models, even animations modeling how cells form patterns. Besides these pages, Botany Online is amply seeded with outside links. Highlights include Web-based botany courses, classic papers in biology, plant classification sites, and databases ranging from plant viruses to grasses of the world.

Peter v. Sengbusch, Botany Online's founder, says the site's strength is that it's an “open source initiative”: Over 50 authors have contributed materials. Although his team is still translating 21 chapters (on Darwinian evolution and the plant kingdom, for example), the site already gets scads of hits—800,000 per month.

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