The key-to-nature project – interactive e-tool for studying and identification of medicinal plants

personАвтори: E. Kozuharova, P. Mihnev, Pier-Luigi Nimis

Summary.

KeyToNature is a 3-year project (2007-2010) of the EU (program eContent Plus of the European Commission) to develop interactive keys for species identification. KeyToNature brings together 14 partners from 11 EU countries, including leading centres in biology, education and information technology. To identify the organisms around us is crucial in many aspects – fundamental and practical. An important practical application connected to pharmacy is to recognize medicinal plants. Precise identification of medicinal plants is important precondition for the expected therapeutic affect. Thus ability to identify particular medicinal species is necessary in different fields of activity – from the process of plant substance harvesting to teaching students in pharmacy. Traditionally identification has been done using paper-printed keys which enable us to correctly name a plant. Most of them, however, are „difficult“ and hardly usable. This is the first version of a guide to woody plants of Bulgaria. It includes an ample selection of spontaneous and cultivated species. At this stage, it was mainly produced in order to serve as a basis for further improvements and for the creation of smaller keys dedicated to schools within the European Project KeyToNature. Henceforward, the Associate Members of KeyToNature will have the possibility of working on this first draft, adding or deleting species, changing the nomenclature, adapting the terminology, adding notes and further pictures to each species. The most important output will be the possibility of automatically creating smaller keys tailored to the individual requirements of users (teachers, students or pharmacists) and the possibility of adding usergenerated content to „their“ key, using some simple tools provided by KeyToNature.

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