an interactive, multi-access botanical key to seed plants in the British Isles

MAKAQueS is a new interactive key to the flora of the British Isles (Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands). It allows the user to distinguish between 3221 native and introduced species, subspecies and species groups of seed plants, covering all the gymnosperms, dicotyledons and monocotyledons, from Abies alba to Zea mays.

MAKAQueS includes a detailed glossary of technical terms, and calculators for converting between units and for calculating the Atkinson Discriminant Function (for distinguishing between the two birch species Betula pendula and B. pubescens).

How it works

MAKAQueS stands for “multi-access keys with automatic question selection”. Unlike the keys in books that you may be familiar with, your route through the key is not predetermined when identifying a plant with MAKAQueS; instead, questions are chosen on the fly, depending on the answers you have already given. At each step, the program looks at the taxa that have not been ruled out, and asks you whichever question is expected to reduce the number of taxa remaining the most. This means that you need to answer many fewer questions than with traditional keys. To see how the process works in practice, see the example identification.

You can also pass over any question that you are not sure about, and move on to a different question instead, giving you much greater flexibility. For example, if a plant is not in flower, you can ignore the questions on floral parts and answer other questions.

A Guide to Britain's Rarest Plants by Christopher J. Dixon

A Guide to Britain’s Rarest Plants

Out now!

This guide describes 66 native species of plants that have the most narrowly restricted ranges in Great Britain. These range from continental, warmth-loving species in the south of England to those found only on the highest Scottish mountains. Each species is shown together with its habitat to allow the reader to better understand the ecological context. Other scarce plants in the same area are indicated.

Available direct from Pelagic Publishing and from all good bookshops.

L-R: Orobanche elatior, Carex otrubae, Centaurea nigra, Stachys germanica, Convallaria majalis, Carpinus betulus, Lycopus europaeus, Cypripedium calceolus