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BI 329 - Plant Biology


This is a guide to selected sources of information related to plant biology resources available in the Geisel Library and on the Internet. Special emphasis is on the project topic assignments. This guide is meant as a starting point for your research. For further research assistance, please stop by the Reference Desk in person or pose your question online at Ask a Librarian.


Find Primary Sources


Most primary sources are found in scholarly journal articles.  Search the following databases to access the literature of plant biology. Databases marked with a checkmark are considered to be 'core' for the discipline of plant biology. In some cases, the database will provide links to the full text of articles.


If you see a WebBridge button next to an article of interest, click it to determine whether the journal is available in the Geisel Library or in full text via another electronic database. Journals listed as being in "Geisel Library Paper Holdings" are shelved alphabetically by journal title on the Lower Level of the library.

WebBridge will also help you request articles through Interlibrary Loan if they aren't available through our library. If there is no WebBridge button, search for the journal's availability using the Journal Finder.

Academic Search Premier

  • Multidisciplinary
  • Lots of full-text
  • Some articles are scholarly
  • Good place for secondary source or general readings


  • Lots of plant sciences materials
  • No full-text
  • Many articles are highly specialized

Biological Sciences (CSA)

  • Highly specialized for biology, including plant sciences
  • No full text
  • All material is scholarly
  • Interlibrary loan may be needed for many
  • Good place for primary source materials


  • Highly specialized for biological sciences
  • Full-Text access to over 80 scholarly journals, some pertaining to plant sciences
  • Includes tables, illustrations and graphs

Google Scholar

  • Good place for access to book and journal information
  • Some full-text
  • Scope and comprehensiveness varies
  • Not really a database (it's a search engine), but works like one


  • Multidisciplinary, but with many biological materials
  • All full text
  • Latest 3-5 years are not covered

Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe

  • Good place for news and current events
  • Lots of full-text

Plant Science

  • Comprehensive; best place for plant research
  • Uses same search engine as the other Bio databases
  • Not full-text; use with Interlibrary Loan

SciFinder Scholar

  • If your research intersects with chemistry
  • Not full-text; use with Interlibrary Loan

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Major Journals in Plant Sciences

Here is a selected list of journal titles that would be available to you electronically or on the Lower Level of the Geisel Library when you consult the databases above. We may not own all of the issues, however. To determine format and specific holdings, please check Journal Finder, a link on the Library Homepage.

Annals of Botany
Annual Review of Plant Biology
BMC Plant Biology
Botanical Review
Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences
Economic Botany
International Journal of Plant Sciences
Journal of Experimental Botany
Journal of Phycology
Plant and Soil
Plant Cell
Plant Cell & Environment
Plant Journal: for cell and molecular biology
Plant Physiology
Plant Science Bulletin
Sexual Plant Reproduction
Systematic Botany


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Find Books


Access to books owned by Saint Anselm College is available through the Geisel Library Catalog. The collection now includes an a digital book database called Ebrary.  There are serval titles pertaining to your topics in Ebrary. For example here are the results from a sample search for books about allelopathy.

  • Books provide good background information and often contain lists of further reading.
  • When you locate a useful book title, look to the right and left of it on the book shelves. You may find other helpful titles.
  • Perform KEYWORD searches. Use the KEYWORD search to combine different concepts such as "plant* and nutrition". See the next section for more information about Keyword searching.
  • Perform subject searches such as:
    • Allelopathy
    • Competition (Biology)
    • Ferns
    • Insect-Plant Relationships
    • Plant Communities
    • Plant Competition
    • Plants - Nutrition
  • Here are some book titles owned by Geisel Library that may be of use for your project topics:
    • Allelopathy   QK911.R5 1984
    • Arbuscular Mycorrhizae: Interactions in Plants, Rhizosphere, and Soils   QK604.2 .A69 2002
    • Biology and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes   on order
    • Botany: An Introduction to Plant Biology   QK47 .M38 2003
    • Competition and Coexistence of Species   QH546.3 .P66 1982
    • Ecology of Weeds and Invasive Plants   on order
    • Environmental Evolution: Effects of the Origin and Evolution of Life on Planet Earth   QH366.2 .E59 1992
    • Inorganic Plant Nutrition   QK867 .G35
    • Perspectives on Plant Competition (on order)
    • Pest Control With Nature's Chemicals   on order
    • Plant Mineral Nutrition   QK867 .H48 1975
    • Plant Physiology: A Treatise   QK711 .S7
    • Transport of Nutrients in Plants   QK871 .P38 1974
  • To broaden your book search, use a database called WorldCat. WorldCat allows you to identify relevant books owned by all other colleges and have them delivered to Geisel Library for your use. Use the subject and keyword searches as explained above.


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More About Keyword Searching

Keyword searching is an important search option when finding articles and books. It can return very effective results if you employ the following search tips:

  • Connect your search words and phrases with Boolean operators. Example: plants and (nutrition or nutrients)
  • Use truncation symbols (usually an asterisk) to bring up results containing all forms of a word. Example: plant* and (nutrition* or nutrient*)
  • Connect phrases with quotation marks. Example: "winter rye"
  • Be creative! 1) Try different combinations of search statements and 2) Copy/paste the statements into several databases.


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About Interlibrary Loan

If there is a book or article that you want but we don't own it, we will obtain it for you from another library. This service is called Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and it's free for all members of Saint Anselm College.

Please consult the following guides for help in requesting an interlibrary loan. Or, ask for help at the Reference Desk.

ILL: Frequently Asked Questions


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Selected Reference Books

Here is a selected list. These and other reference materials may offer helpful background information, definitions, scientific names, bibliographies and identification guides for your research.

  • Biology Data Book
    QH310 .A39
  • Dictionary of Ecology
  • Dictionary of Plant Sciences
  • Encyclopedia of Evolution
    Ref QH360.2 .E54 2002
  • Encyclopedia of Soil Science
    Ref S592.E517 2002
  • Gray's Manual of Botany
    Ref QK117 .G75 1950
  • Herbaceous Perennial Plants
    Ref SB434 .A76 1989
  • Magill's Survey of Science:  Life Science Series
    Ref QH307.2 .M34 1991
  • Names of Plants
    Ref QK96 .G54 2002
  • Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species of North America
    Ref QL84.2 .O35 1990
  • Penguin Dictionary of Plant Sciences
    Ref QK9 .P465 1999
  • Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms
    Ref QH83 .S89 (2 volumes)


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Selected Websites

No doubt the databases and Library Catalog listed above will put you most efficiently into the appropriate literature. However, here are a few Websites that may be of interest. If you locate books or articles through these sites or through search engines such as Google, you may only be supplied with abstracts or summaries. If you notice a book or journal that you would like to view in entirety, please check with a reference librarian to see if the items can be located in Geisel Library's print or electronic collections or through Interlibrary Loan.

The Electronic Plant Information Centre / Kew Gardens
ePIC is a major project to bring together all of Kew's digitized information about plants, thus making it easier to search.

Encyclopedia of Life
The Encyclopedia of Life, launched in 2008, is a global cooperative effort to fully catalog and describe more than 1.8 million species.

ITIS: Integrated Taxonomic Information System
This government site provides authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world. Includes over 390,000 scientific names and can be accessed by common name or scientific name, whichever is known.

Plants Database
From the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides a single source of standardized information about plants.

Scott's Botanical Links / U of Oklahoma
Use the site search engine. For example, a search of 'symbiosis' will return a page called 'Mycorrhiza Information Exchange'.


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Citing Your Sources

Citing Information: CSE/CBE Style

CSE Citation Style Examples

USE "Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers"
Paper copy: Ready Ref T11 .S386


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Need More Help?

Ask a Librarian or make an appointment with your instructor.

Preparing a literature review — this library research guide may offer some helpful tips.


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