For the first time, it is possible for the holders of the hundreds of national plant collections across the UK to record their plants on a compatible database.
Demeter, developed in the past three years by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG), was initially funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
That money has now run out, but thousands of pounds is needed to roll the program out to all the collection holders, as well as botanical gardens and other holders of large plant collections, says the charity.
NCCPG vice chairman David Goodchild said: “It is crucial that we attract the funds to make Demeter available to all collection holders. It was built using Microsoft.Net technology with a fully relational database, which will work on a wide range of platforms. It’s a fantastic and valuable package, but it won’t be worth anything if no-one can get hold of it.”
Central to the application is a comprehensive plant-naming structure endorsed by the RHS.
The program is already in use by a first wave of collection holders, but the potential for everyone to use it is “huge”, said Goodchild.
He added: “With Demeter, we can create over a period of time a complete database of rare and unusual plants, across the country.
“Their size, state of health, heritage and even how they were propagated can be recorded. It’s an essential part of the future conservation of plants — the very reason for the NCCPG’s existence.”
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