- Author: Joseph DiTomaso
For years, the diagnostic program for weeds of the western United States was only available on CD format. With many computers moving away from CD drives, fewer people were able to use the identification tool. However, both the broadleaf weeds and the grass weeds are now available in a flash drive format, which is not only more convenient to carry and easier to use, but more versatile on most PC-based computers. The program still contains 754 broadleaf species and another 231 grass or grass-like species. In total, the program allows for the identification of 985 species. A number of native perennial grasses are also included to help restorationists determine what species are becoming established after initiating a revegetation program. The program is based on the XIDRO operating system and allows the user to choose among 75 characteristics for broadleaf species and 76 characteristics for grasses. Thus, users can select whatever characteristics they have available, regardless of whether flowers or fruit are present. Thus, plants can even be identified in the vegetative stage or after they have died, provided some characteristics are still intact. As specific features are chosen, the number of potential choices continually narrows down to one or a couple of possible species. These can then be checked by viewing the numerous photos for each species. All species also have descriptions, synonymy and references where more information can be found in other weed identification books. The flash drives are available through the California Invasive Plant Council website at cal-ipc.org and cost $50. When ordering, please indicate that you would like the flash drive, rather than the CD set.