Once you have accessed the Web site, the home page gives you two search options. The plant index will allow you to search for plants by the first letter of their genus or common name. The characteristic search will allow you to search for plants by certain characteristics such as fruit or flower color.
If you choose to search by the plant index, simply click on the first letter of the genus. This brings you to a page with all of the plants whose genus starts with that letter. You may have to scroll down the page in order to find the plant. If you search by common name, find the letter that the common name begins with and then find the common name listed under the letter. Click on the first letter of the genus that is underlined just after the common name is listed. For example, if you are looking for Fireweed, go to the letter F on the plant index. Look for Fireweed listed under the common names. You should see Fireweed (see Epilobium). By clicking on the underlined E of Epilobium, you will be directed to the Web page that has all of the plants whose genus begins with E.
To search by characteristics, open the plant characteristic page, which is accessible from the homepage. Click on the characteristic that you know your plant has, and this will take you to a page that has all of the plants with that characteristic. Some of these pages have many different plants on them so you will need to scroll down in order to find your plant.
Also included in the Web site is a glossary of some of the terms used in the descriptions and a page that explains the names under the plants. The names used are the scientific and the common. Plant species often have more than one common name, and all of the different common names are not listed on the index. The indicator status is also listed.
Select plant keys are available by clicking on "Plant Keys" from the homepage. These are lists of select species that can be hard to distinguish from one another from the three genus' Carex, Salix and Viola. The glossary will be helpful in defining some of the terms used.