Louisiana Plant Identification
Introduction to the Project

Project History

One of the challenges of teaching about plants is the need to educate people about entire ecosystems, and not just individual plants. The goal of this project is to help people understand that certain species of trees and shrubs occur together in predictable patterns, and that certain combinations of plants work better than others. Often we see problems when plants with different environmental requirements (e.g. wetland or upland) are planted together, to the detriment of all the plants. The purpose of this project is to illustrate natural plant communities by presenting a variety of natural ecosystems which might then help people understand how to use a mixture of plants in the appropriate landscapes.

The main tool we have used in this project is a high resolution digital camera fitted with a fish-eye lens. This allowed us to capture hemispheric images of different plant communities. Then, with the iPIX®technology, the two hemispheres were "stitched" together into a single image that represents the 360° complete hemisphere surrounding the photographer. The "immersive" images were then edited by adding the interactive "hotspots" to highlight the individual plants, plant communities, and features that were of interest.

The main advantage of this technology is that it allowed us to capture entire natural settings. In this virtual environment, the user can move all around the space -- rotating the image up and down, left or right, and zooming in and out to view objects in more detail-- viewing the full 360° setting. By doing this, the user can see natural associations of plants and learn to place different species with similar requirements into the correct environments.

To take the best advantage of all that this site has to offer, it has been set up so that you can take virtual tours of the various ecosystems and natural sites. Within each tour, are links to more complete information on species present at that site. The links to individual species pages are also available in list form, and sorted alphabetically by scientific name, common name, and family with links back to each site in which they appear. A summary text-list of the virtual tour sites and their representative species may be helpful, as well as a list of sources used to compile the characteristics of each species. Additionally, the Wetland Plant Indicator List designation for each species, if it is know/determined is included. In case you don't see what you want already described, try the site map page for the complete overview and the various ways to access the information. To keep track of changes on the site as it is updated with new features, or new images, check "What's New" on the Sitelog page.


This project is funded in part by The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Urban and Commumity Forestry Grant Program, through the LSU AgCenter and the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources. The original grant was entitled "Louisiana Ecosystems and Plant Identification: An Interactive Virtual Tour". The Prinicpal Investigator and Project Director (2003 through May 2007) was Dr. Michael Stine, formerly an Associate Professor of Forest Genetics in the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources. The current Project Director is Dr. Chris S. Reid, Instructor, in the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources.


This site, and the 5-poster set, would not have been possible without the help of several very talented student photographers. The principal photographers have been Adam A. Agosta (2004 graduate in Forest Management), G. Suanne Bacque Taylor (December 2005 graduate in Wildlife Ecology; she was also principal in helping with the poster set), Andrew G. Haase, Jr ( 2008 Graduate, BSF), and Steven A. Wright (a May 2008 Master's of Agriculture graduate with an emphasis in Forestry). Other photo contributions were made by Justin Thayer (May 2006 graduate in Wetland Science, 2009 MS Wildlife), Christopher Allen (former Research Associate in the Forest Productivity Lab), Mary S. Bowen, Dr. Michael Stine, Dr. Jim L. Chambers, and Melinda Hughes (Faculty and Staff of RNR). Thanks also go to Amelia Wolfe (2013 graduate in Wildlife Ecology) for help organizing and processing the huge backlog of images, and working on the Virtual Tour descriptions. Website design and administration is by Mary S. Bowen (Research Associate/Coordinator for the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources, and for the LSU School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences Postharvest Physiology Lab).

For further information, questions, or comments about the project, please contact:
Dr. Chris S. Reid
School of Renewable Natural Resources
Room 216, RNR Bldg
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
phone: 225-578-0783
email: creid4@lsu.edu