Using this tool

Fruit and Seed Family ID aids in identification of fruits and seeds* to family. The first edition of the tool will focus on monocotyledon families, with all seed plant families to follow.

Given the sparsity of gross-morphological traits for fruits and seeds, identifying the family will likely require narrowing down the possible families using the key and then reviewing the fact sheets to help determine the family.

Fruit and Seed Family ID contains:

  • General information about fruit and seed characteristics.
  • Identification key: The interactive key is designed to provide users with an approachable set of traits, viewable with minimal magnification, that can be selected based on what they see in their unidentified specimen, to quickly narrow down the list of possible families.
  • Fact sheets: Family fact sheets provide taxonomic information, detailed descriptions of fruits and seeds that typically occur in the plant family, images, and distribution information. Images and illustrations on the fact sheets exemplify the diversity of form when possible; however, because of limited access to some taxa, not all diversity is shown. In addition, since dried and fragmented material are what most often will be encountered in a trade setting, we emphasized images of dried material rather than fresh. Images of fresh material is included, when possible, to aid in interpreting the images of dried material. (If you would like to contribute images, please contact us.)

    A link to the genera currently included in a family by GRIN-Global is provided under the Taxonomy topic. The number of genera and species cited on each fact sheet is based on Christenhusz and Byng (2016) and may differ slightly from the number of genera listed in GRIN-Global.

  • Image gallery: The filterable gallery allows users to compare images by plant part, fruit type, color, and/or surface, providing a potentially quick match to the user’s specimen or to review many examples of a plant part or fruit type.
  • Glossary: A glossary is included for both expert and non-expert users. Note, because the definition of some terms associated with describing fruits and seeds may differ between sources, please check the glossary to confirm how the term is used in this tool. We follow the Biodiversity Information Standards Floral terminology.
  • References: All literature used to create the tool is cited.

*Here we focus on fruits and seeds. Other propagating plant parts, such as spores or vegetative tissues, are not included.