How to write a plant profile
1) What is a plant profile ?
A plant profile is a monograph of a plant species, in other words a document that contains an overview of the information available on the species. A plant profile content will change according to the target readers for the document. However, some standard guidelines can be given. Here I will give some guidelines that corresponds to the plant profiles that are part of the assignments of the students of the MSc in Ethnobotany at the Universiy of Kent.
I suggest to include at least the following categories (headings) in your plant profile:
- Illustration or photography of the plant
- Botanical name and synonims
- Vernacular name(s) of the plant
- Botanical description
- Origin, distribution and habitat
- Conservation status
- Use and plant products
- Description of plant products, harvesting and processing techniques
- Market status
- References: in the format of a scientific paper (embedded in the text and listed at the end)
3) Be particularly careful on these two points:
- Use reliable sources. Preferably peer reviewed journal articles or/and scientific books and monographs. Look for statistics on reliable sources. For example, the FAO website has a section with a lot of statistics.
- Cross-check information when you doubt the quality of the source.
- Check that the information is up to date.
- Include references for any information that you cite in the plant profile.