Australian Tropical Rain Forest Plants
Trees, Shrubs and Vines
This project had its genesis with the key by Hyland in 1971, which covered 584 taxa of rain forest trees in north Queensland. The character set consisted of 48 bark features and 45 leaf features, and the key was a polyclave or card key on the then standard 80-column computer cards.
Eleven years later, the Revised Key by Hyland in 1982 covered 799 taxa for the same bark and leaf features, with the addition of family and geographic area. This key reached the limits of the currently available technology, with the 799 taxa filling all available positions on the computer cards.
Eleven years later again, the computer-based key by Hyland and Whiffin in 1993 covered 1056 taxa of trees of all Australian tropical rain forests. This consisted of two volumes, a leaf atlas, and computer-based keys in both MS-DOS and Macintosh formats. In addition to the bark and leaf features, additional features from flowers, fruits and seedlings were included, aswell as notes on distribution and ecology.
A version of the key combining trees and shrubs was published in January 2000. This results from the combined efforts of Bernie Hyland, Trevor Whiffin, David Christophel, Bruce Gray, Rebel Elick and Andrew Ford. This version is a Windows based key, covering 1733 taxa of the rain forest trees and shrubs, from all northern Australian tropical rain forests.
The current version of the key to be published in February 2003, will include 2154 taxa covering trees, shrubs and vines.