Our Plant Data Tagging System
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Our Plant Data Tagging System

We've implemented a plant tagging system to identify specific characteristics of plants in our database. These tags, which replace the checkbox system we previously used to record plant data, identify data about a variety of aspects of each plant. We've broken them into groups based on type of characteristic.


In rolling out this tag system, our hope has been to achieve a profound expansion of the data associated with each plant species, all while allowing that data to be searchable through the Filter Search function. As a result, we hope the tag system will make it much easier for users to find plant material they want to specify. Users will be also able to include much more data about the plants in their schedules than previously possible.

How Our Plant Data Tagging System Works

We follow the botanical nomenclature rules set out by the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (9th Ed.), published by International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) – the rulebook for botanical and horticultural nomenclature, and a go-to source when you're unsure of a nomenclature rule.


Although all Land F/X users can edit tags, our team will continue to add data and vet user data for accuracy.







Unlike the plant names within our plant database, our tagging system can be edited directly by users. As we roll out this new system, we lack the capacity to tag each of the tens of thousands of plants in our database, although we are always working to add tags and check users' entries for correctness. When Land F/X team members enter tags, those tags are based on data from nursery and botanical garden websites, or from horticultural books. Because we do not grow the plants ourselves, we cannot verify the validity of the data beyond the reputation of the data sources we use for data entry.


Also keep in mind that a particular species' growth and needs can vary from one location to another. Because the plant database is employed by Land F/X users all over the world, it's always a good idea to ensure that the data in the tags is also true for plants grown in the region where your project is located.




You can view and edit data associated with a particular plant by:


Adding a plant, Data button


Plant Info dialog box, Plant Data button





You'll now see a dialog box showing data for the selected plant variety.

This data is wiki-based, meaning you can make adjustments to it based on your knowledge of the plant. This feature allows user input into the data presented within the software. In turn, it allows the software to grow as a result of input from our clients.

Plant data dialog box




Tabs (Data, Photo, Description, Discussion

Tabs at the top of the plant data dialog box




Plant data dialog box, Discussion tab, Log In button

At the top of the plant data dialog box, you'll now see four tabs. Select one of these tabs to configure a plant's data, add a photo, or complete other actions:

  • Data: All data tags and most other information assigned to a plant will reside here.



  • Description: Here, you'll find information about the selected plant such as taxonomy notes.


  • Discussion: Have a question or comment about the selected plant? Want to ask whether a photo assigned to the plant is correct, or suggest a photo of your own? Open this tab and click Log In to log in to the Land F/X Portal and add your comments. Our staff will read and vet your comments, and, if applicable, take the appropriate action.




Choose the Language for a Plant's Common Name

The wiki-based data section also includes options for naming the selected plant.


To use the common name for the plant in your language, select your language from the menu on the right (example: English).

Choosing a language for the plant common name




These local names are crowd-sourced, with all Planting F/X users able to help edit them. If you want more control over local common names, you can edit the plant name field on the left. If you enter a custom plant name, it will be added to your local project data and can be saved to your planting template.

Note that all these changes are sent to our team so we can vet them.




Custom Tags & Fields

We offer two methods for adding custom data parameters:

  • Custom Tags: A quick and simple way to add your own data parameters to our existing tag groups
  • Custom Fields: Used for designations that aren't currently included in our plant data groups




Custom Tags

If you don’t see the tag you're looking for within one of our tag groups, you can add it yourself. You can add any tag you want – even one that is not approved for everyone’s use.



Data tag group, example

First, determine which tag group your new tag will fall into.


For example, if you wanted to include in your data that Quercus durata tolerates serpentine soils, you can simply add serpentine as a tag in the group Soil Tolerances.

For more information on each tag group, see our Our Plant Tag Groups below.




You can then just click into the group and type your desired tag and press Enter.


To be consistent with our existing tags, take care to capitalize the first letter of the tag.

Adding a data tag




Data tag saved

The tag will be saved in your plant data and will now be applied to this plant material.


Your custom tag will also be sent to our database managers, who can then approve that tag for all users if we determine it to be applicable.

When you place a Plant Schedule that includes plant data information, this tag will show up within the group where you created it – in our example, the Soil Tolerances group. This method can be used as a simpler alternative to Custom Fields.




Custom Fields

Some plants will also include a custom fields section, where you can check boxes that apply other data to that plant.


These data fields will be included in your Plant Schedule.

Note that custom fields are no longer really needed because you can type anything into the tag system and save that data.

Custom data fields




Plant Photos


To view photos of the selected plant submitted by Land F/X users, select the Photo tab at the top of the plant data dialog box.

Viewing photos of a plant

This feature does not assign photos to your plants for photo callouts – it's just a way for you to view a photo of the selected plant for your reference when adding it to a project. To assign a photo to a plant in order to call out that plant in a drawing, see our Plant Photo Callout documentation.




If you or another user has entered a photo of the plant, you'll see it here.


Example of photo attached to a plant




If the photo appears to be incorrect for the selected plant, or if you want to suggest a different photo, you can add a comment using the Discussion tab.




When adding plants to a Land F/X project, you can use a filter search to look for plant material by specific tags. When you apply these filters to your search, the list of possible plants in your search will be reduced to only include those that are assigned the tags you select.


So, for example, if you only want to use plants that have low water use and can tolerate rocky soil, you can add those tags to your search filter and limit your search to only include plants that meet those criteria.


For more information and instructions, see our filter search documentation.




Reverting to the Legacy Version of our Plant Data System

Want to revert to the legacy version of our plant data system that was available prior to our updates in 2021?


Type USERi1 in the Command line and press Enter. When prompted to enter a value, type 1010 and press Enter again. You'll now see the legacy version of the plant data dialog box, pictured to the right.


To return to the updated version, set the Useri1 value to 0.

Returning to the legacy version of the plant data dialog box

Our Tag Groups

We've organized the possible tags for plants in our database into the following groups:





Plant Category

Although sorting plants into solid categories can be difficult, our plants are listed as Trees, Shrubs, or Ground Covers. These categories determine which medium can be used for a plant. Ground Covers and Shrub Areas are represented by hatches in your drawings, while Trees and Shrubs are represented by blocks, or symbols.


Each plant can exist in more than one category, but a plant that's listed a Ground Cover cannot also be a Tree, for example.




Tags available in this group:

  • Trees: This category is generally used for woody plants that can exceed 6 feet tall. Trees display as a block, or symbol.


  • Shrubs: This category includes both woody plants and medium-size herbaceous perennials. Shrubs display as a block, or symbol.


  • Shrub Areas: Unlike the others, this category does not have a checkbox in the plant data. (See image below.) Instead, the Shrub Area category includes all plants in the database. Shrub Areas display as a hatch, allowing you to place a contiguous area filled with the represented plant rather than placing each individual plant.


  • Ground Covers: This category includes classic low-growing plants, herbaceous perennials, and anything not exceeding 3 feet in height that might be used in a mass planting. Ground Covers also display as a hatch.




Changing a Plant's Category

If a plant is not assigned the correct category, you can change its category by selecting the correct category checkbox in the plant data. For the correct category to be saved, you'll need to change the category before adding the plant to your project.

Plant Categories




Selecting a plant category when adding a plant to the master Land F/X database

When adding new plants to our master plant database, select the correct category for the plant using the checkboxes near the top left corner of the New Plant dialog box.


If not changed, this category will default to the same category in which you're searching.




Water Use

Water Use divides plants by their general water use level, based on what the plant will prefer. Water-use level will vary from location to location, or whether plants are in containers. For example, a plant may call for medium water use in California, but low water use elsewhere. When entering data, we try to take these differences into account and would enter both "low" and "medium" water use. Therefore, as with other tags, it's always a good idea to double-check resources local to your project.


Note that drought tolerance is listed under the Plant Traits tag, as this characteristic pertains to how the plant does with irregular watering or periods of drought, rather than how much water it prefers. For instance, many succulents are low- or medium-water-use plants, but they are also drought tolerant. They would prefer to have regular waterings but will survive without. Some medium-water-use plants will also survive a period of drought, while others will not.



Tags available in this group:

  • Very low water use
  • Low water use
  • Medium water use
  • High water use



    Hardiness Zone

    Hardiness Zones are based on the USDA system of 13 zones, each divided into subzones a and b. Each zone is based on an average annual extreme minimum temperatures – i.e., the average coldest night of the year, which is likely to kill the least hardy plants growing in that region.


    Hardiness zones do not take into account factors other than minimum temperature, so it's good to remember that even if a plant is listed as hardy in a certain zone, other climatic conditions may prevent it from thriving. Other factors to consider include humidity, heat, night temperatures, wind, and many others.

    Hardiness Zones chart




    Tags available in this group:

    • 1a
    • 1b
    • 2a
    • 2b
    • 3a
    • 3b
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
    • 7b
    • 8a
    • 8b
    • 9a
    • 9b
    • 10a
    • 10b
    • 11a
    • 11b
    • 12a
    • 12b
    • 13a
    • 13b




    Soil Tolerances

    Soil Tolerances includes soil conditions the plant will tolerate, as well as those a plant prefers. For instance, plants tagged with "salty" may not prefer salty soils, but will tolerate them.


    Tags available in this group:

    • Rocky
    • Clay
    • Silt
    • Sand
    • Loam
    • Organic
    • Salty
    • Alkaline
    • Neutral
    • Acidic
    • Moist
    • Dry
    • Flooded
    • Well-drained





    Exposure includes what light conditions a plant will tolerate. If a fern prefers shade but will tolerate deep shade, both may be listed.


    Tags available in this group:

    • Deep shade
    • Shade
    • Part shade
    • Full sun




    Plant Type

    Plant Type is a category to facilitate searching within groups that have a common thread. Plant Type is used when a plant can always be classified into the chosen group, in contrast to Plant Landscape Use, which describes how a plant may be employed in a design, rather than the general group the plant belongs to, no matter how it might be used in a landscape. These groups often contain more than one genus (interspecific) – for example, bamboo or bromeliad – or are an intraspecific group – for example, climbing rose or azalea.


    Plant types such as maples and oaks are not included as tags in the Plant Type group because all plants of that type occur within one genus, so can be found easily all in one place and don't require a better way to be grouped and searched.




    Tags available in this group:

    Interspecific tags:

    • Turfgrass
    • Ornamental grass
    • Grass-like
    • Bamboo
    • Bulb
    • Palm
    • Bromeliad
    • Cycad
    • Citrus
    • Cactus
    • Succulent
    • Fern
    • Conifer
    • Fruit tree
    • Fruiting shrub
    • Vegetable
    • Vine
    • Aquatic
    • Orchid
    • Moss



    Intraspecific tags:

    • Azalea
    • Vireya
    • Hybrid Tea Rose
    • Shrub Rose
    • Floribunda Rose
    • Grandiflora Rose
    • Polyantha Rose
    • Climbing Rose
    • Miniature Rose
    • Old Garden Rose
    • Species Hybrid Rose




    Plant Landscape Use

    Plant Landscape Use tags describe how a plant is commonly used in a landscape. The tag should answer the question "What role can this plant selection play in a landscape?"


    Tags available in this group:

    • Specimen plant
    • Accent plant
    • Bedding plant
    • Container plant
    • Indoor plant
    • Screening plant
    • Hedging plant
    • Utility friendly tree
    • Shade tree
    • Patio tree
    • Street tree
    • Annual color
    • Between pavers
    • Mass planting
    • Border plant




    Mature Height

    Mature Height indicates the plant's full span at maturity, and is displayed as a range.


    Tags available in this group:


    • < 20 cm
    • 20 – 50 cm
    • < 50 cm
    • < 50 cm – 1 m
    • > 1 m
    • 1 – 2 m
    • 2 – 3 m
    • 3 – 5 m
    • < 5 m
    • >5 m
    • 5 – 8 m
    • 8 – 12 m
    • 12 – 20 m
    • > 20 m


    • < 6" ht.
    • 6 – 18" ht.
    • 18 – 36" ht.
    • > 3' ht.
    • < 18" ht.
    • 3 – 6' ht.
    • 6 – 10' ht.
    • 10 – 15' ht.
    • > 15' ht.
    • < 15' ht.
    • 15 – 25' ht.
    • 25 – 40' ht.
    • 40 – 65' ht.
    • > 65' ht.




    Mature Width

    Mature Width indicates how wide the plant is at maturity, and it is displayed as a range.

    Note that the range provided may not fit the plant perfectly. For instance, a plant that typically grows to 4 feet in width will be listed in the 3 - 6' category. Check local horticultural resources for plant size in your project's are. Size may vary by growing conditions.


    Tags available in this group:


    • < 1' w.
    • 1 – 3' w.
    • 3 – 6' w.
    • 6 – 10' w.
    • 10 – 15' w.
    • 15 – 25' w.
    • 25 – 40' w.
    • 40 – 65' w.
    • 65 – 90' w.
    • > 90' w.


    • < 30 cm w.
    • 30 – 100 cm w.
    • 1 – 2 m w.
    • 2 – 3 m w.
    • 5 – 8 m w.
    • 8 – 12 m w.
    • 12 – 20 m w.
    • 20 – 28 m w.
    • > 28 m w.




    Plant Traits

    Plant Traits tags identify any characteristic of a plant that will exist no matter how the plant is used in a landscape or where it is growing. Traits include life cycle, physical traits, growth rate, and tolerances.


    Tags available in this group:

    • Slow growth rate
    • Moderate growth rate
    • Fast growth rate
    • Evergreen
    • Semi-deciduous
    • Deciduous
    • Annual
    • Biennial
    • Perennial
    • Herbaceous
    • Woody
    • Dwarf
    • Weeping
    • Pyramidal
    • Poisonous
    • Dioecious
    • Monoecious
    • Wind tolerant
    • Drought tolerant
    • Drought intolerant
    • Deer resistant
    • Gopher resistant
    • Bright green foliage
    • Dark green foliage
    • Yellow-green foliage
    • Red foliage
    • Purple foliage
    • Gray foliage
    • Blue foliage
    • Variegated foliage
    • Glossy foliage
    • Lacey foliage
    • Fine foliage
    • Medium foliage
    • Bold foliage
    • Spiky foliage
    • Fuzzy foliage
    • Fragrant foliage
    • Showy flowers
    • Inconspicuous flowers
    • Fragrant flowers
    • Double flowers
    • Attracts bees
    • Attracts birds
    • Attracts butterflies
    • Attracts hummingbirds
    • Edible
    • Hazard: sharp
    • Clumping habit
    • Spreading habit
    • Fall color
    • Winter interest
    • Poisonous




    Plant Origin

    Plant Origin is a category that denotes the general region to which the plant is native, or whether it is of hybrid origin. the group includes 9 broader ("General") categories, plus many more specific categories. These categories are based roughly on the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions.




    Tags available in this group:

    General tags:

    • Hybrid origin
    • Europe
    • Africa
    • Asia (temperate)
    • Asia (tropical)
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
    • Pacific Islands
    • North America
    • South America



    Specific tags:

    • Northern Europe
    • Middle Europe
    • Mediterranean
    • Eastern Europe
    • Macaronesia
    • Northern Africa
    • West Tropical Africa
    • Central Tropical Africa
    • Northeast Tropical Africa
    • East Tropical Africa
    • South Tropical Africa
    • Southern Africa
    • Western Indian Ocean
    • Northern Asia
    • Central Asia
    • Middle East
    • Eastern Asia
    • Southern Asia
    • Southeast Asia
    • Northwestern North America
    • North-Central North America
    • Northeastern North America
    • Southwestern North America
    • South-Central North America
    • Southeastern North America
    • Central America
    • Caribbean
    • Northern South America
    • Western South America
    • Eastern South America
    • Southern South America




    Season of Bloom

    Season of Bloom indicates the season in which a plant normally blooms. When these seasons occur can vary from location to location, such as being opposite in the northern and southern hemispheres, or in a different month based on latitude.


    Tags available in this group:

    • Early winter
    • Mid-winter
    • Late winter
    • Early spring
    • Mid-spring
    • Late spring
    • Early summer
    • Mid-summer
    • Late summer
    • Early fall
    • Mid-fall
    • Late fall




    Bloom Color

    Bloom Color tags indicate the flower or showy bract color. If a plant includes multiple colors in a flower, use the most prominent color for the tag, or what the colors would look like from afar (blended together).

    Plant Name Information

    Name formatting:

    • Scripta horticulturae – International code of nomenclature for cultivated plants


    Name taxonomy:

    • Taxonomic databases
    • International Cultivar Registration Authorities (ICRAs)
    • Other reputable authorities, such as SMGrowers, botanical gardens
    • Plant patent information

    Guidelines for Editing Tags

    To contribute responsibly to our plant database, please follow these principles:


    • Do not remove tags you simply don't want to display. Instead, remove the entire tag group from your Plant Schedule. Instructions


    • Add tags accurately and empathetically. When adding tags, make sure your data is correct, as well as applicable to other database users. See our list of approved data sources.


    • Account for diverse planting conditions. Before removing a tag from a plant, consider whether the tag could still be valid in another climate or situation. Plants are often listed with multiple tags for groups such as Water Usage for this very reason.


    • Alert us to erroneous removals. If you learn that a tag you know to be true has been or is about to be removed, please post about it in our Community Forum. If you have evidence that the removal is a mistake, we will correct it.

    Locked Tags

    You may see some data tags that are displayed in a slightly darker shade of green with a lock symbol next to them. These tags have been locked in place by the database manager after thorough vetting. If you encounter a locked tag, rest assured that we've verified the validity of that piece of data.

    Because our plant database includes plants from all over the world, our data sources also come from all over the world. Listing all of the reputable data sources therefore does not make sense, but the sources generally fall into the following categories:

    • Botanical gardens
    • University websites
    • Native plant societies
    • International Cultivar Registration Authorities (ICRAs)
    • Plant patent information
    • Reputable nurseries (especially information listed by multiple nurseries)


    More information




    User input is also extremely important to us. If you see a locked tag and you know it to be incorrect, please post on our user forum or send us a support ticket. Remember that plant tag data is displayed for everyone - before sending a ticket, please consult reputable sources to determine whether a piece of data may be correct in a situation or location other than your own.

    Accounting for Existing Plants on Your Site

    Do you need to account for existing plants on your project site so they too can be called out with labels and listed in your Plant Schedule?


    In overhauling our plant data tagging system, we've removed users' abilities to add words such as existing, mulch, remove, or gravel to plants' names, as the terms are outside the realm of plant nomenclature.


    However, you still have a few options for adding plants to your projects and including the term existing in their names. More information & instructions

    Last modified on Monday, 01 May 2023 15:20

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