Details of Plant Base data elements

This is for information only, in case anyone is interested. All database fields are handled by the program's user interface and are generally self-explanatory. The actual implementation is a little more complicated but the description below gives the basic elements.

Each plant is held in a central set of records known as the Plant Master. These records have a large number of fields, all of which may be used as search criteria:-

  • Name (botanical name)
  • Common Name (or names - a list, up to 255 characters)
  • Synonyms (old and alternative botanical names)
  • Plant Family
  • Plant Type (shrub, tree, grass, etc.)
  • Description (free-text)
  • Cultivation (free-text)
  • Propagation (free-text)
  • Design & Use (free-text)
  • Additional Notes (free-text)
  • Evergreen
  • Semi-evergreen
  • Ground cover
  • Scented, aromatic
  • Poisonous or irritant (searchable as include or exclude)
  • Spiny *
  • Invasive *
  • Edible
  • Medicinal
  • Season of interest
  • Leaf colour
  • Flower colour
  • Fruit colour
  • Stem or bark colour
  • Growth rate
  • Height (searchable as min or max)
  • Width (searchable as min or max)
  • Growth habit
  • Leaf shape *
  • Full sun
  • Part Shade
  • Shade
  • Dry soil
  • Moist soil
  • Wet or waterlogged soil (includes aquatic)
  • Clay soil
  • Sandy soil
  • Coastal
  • Notably tolerant of varying conditions
  • Soil pH tolerance (acid, alkaline etc.)
  • Soil pH preference
  • Minimum temperature
  • USDA Hardiness Zone (min and max range)
  • Area of origin (native region for species, or place of breeding for cultivars)

Pictures are kept in separate Picture Libraries, linked to the plant records by the botanical name so that picture thumbnails appear on the screen when plant is displayed. Any number of pictures can be associated with each plant. The picture records consist of:

  • Plant name
  • The image itself (if embedded)
  • Caption
  • Photo credit
  • Notes field
  • File path (the original file used or the path link to an existing external picture file)

The name, caption, photo credit and notes fields are searchable.


Reference records are also held in a separate database area, in similar manner to pictures and linked by botanical name to the master plant record. These simple records may be used to add additional reference information, either internal or external to the Plant Base application. For example an internal reference creates a clickable link to another plant record. External references can have different forms, such as a clickable link to an external website or a non-clickable text giving the name of a book or maybe a paper plant catalogue. Any number of reference records can be associated with a plant.

  • Plant name
  • Reference type
  • Reference target (could be another plant name, or a web URL, filename, or book title
  • Comment field (note text)

Plant lists are created by the end-user, using the botanical name. There is no hard-coded limit to the number of lists stored or the number of plants in each list. While normally viewed as a simple name list, each list item can hold detail information fields (displayed on request in a separate tab). Duplicate names may be optionally allowed in order to record different locations, sizes and so on, where the same plant is used multiple times in a project.

  • Plant name
  • Location
  • Plan ref. number
  • Latitute *
  • Longitude *
  • Elevation *
  • Size
  • Quantity
  • Cost
  • Notes (free text)

The plant names in the lists are linked back to the master records, so that all plant details may be quickly browsed .


* - these fields were added for Plant Base 2, they were not present in the original 1.x.x versions.
Geographic coordinates in list records are mainly for use in the mobile Android edition, but can be viewed or manually entered in other editions.

... back to Plant Base introduction