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The Ryenats Plant Finder


This little program was originally written for the HP Jornada for use in the field. The version below has been adapted to run on a standard Windows machine, but still tends towards small and simple forms, as one day it may want to go back to a hand-held device!

To try it out, grab the installer file (around 2Mb download) and install as normal. This comes with a basic list of British birds (thanks to Jim Pewtress) and a comprehensive list of plants found in the Ryedale area (thanks to Nan Sykes). You can easily set up your own master lists, by adding to these or using Notepad to generate completely new lists (e.g. of Lichens, Fungi or even Buses and Trains if that is what you collect).

How can it help me?

Basically by getting the spelling right first time, including the Latin as well as the common name. You type ran cre and it finds "Ranunculus repens - Buttercup, creeping" for you to log, which saves a lot of hassle if you just came in from a field study with a load of damp scribbles on a clipboard. Having logged a list of plants, you can export the list to a text file, or directly to HTML in a simple table:

Carex paniculataTussock sedge
Fraxinus excelsiorAsh
Ranunculus repensButtercup, creeping

... just like that! Obviously you can fix up the table attributes to taste.

Getting started

Step 1: start the program, which comes up with a blank window.

Step 2: change the master list if required (File menu, Read Master, double-click on the list you want).

Step 3: type in your shortcut (e.g. will) then click the Find button or press Enter - all matches will come up with the top one highlighted. To log the highlighted row click the Log button, double-click the row or press Ctrl-L (or Alt-L).

Step 4: if you want to highlight other plants on the same screen (e.g. another willow) either mouse or arrow-key to the row you want then log as before. The logged rows are now marked.

Step 5: to see if it's worked go Tools, Review Log.

Step 6: save the log (File, Save or Ctrl-S). Please note that at present you can only have one file on the go at any one time - but you can export it as a text file which can be loaded back in at a later date. It is saved as "today.dcf" in a proprietary format in the Plantfinder folder.

Step 7: export the log (File menu).

If you want to start a new list clear the current log with File, Initialise, but be careful and make sure you have exported the log first, because initialising wipes the slate clean!

Feedback requested!

It is only a little one-trick pony of a program, so adding a few more bits is easy. Please let Gill know what you think of it, and one day we may fix it.

Adrian & Gill Smith, July 2006