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International Seed Testing Association
International Seed Testing Association
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8304 Wallisellen, CH
+41 44 838 60 00
International Seed Testing Association

Universal List of Species

The seed identification fact sheets consist of images, illustrative drawings, and feature descriptions of the species on the ISTA Universal List of Species. These factsheets are aimed to assist seed analysts to identify the seeds on the universal list, which provides additional information to the ISTA Handbook on Pure Seed Definitions.

The fact sheets are grouped by plant families and listed in alphabetical order by species names in each family. This will allow end-user to be able to find seeds that may look similar. Each fact sheet can be reviewed by clicking on a species name.

The task of the development of these fact sheets was led and coordinated by a working group of the ISTA Purity Committee with members: Deborah Meyer from the California Department of Food & Agriculture, USA, Zita Ripka from the National Food Chain Safety Office, Hungary, Corinne Sahuguede from GEVES-SNES, France and Ruojing Wang from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canada.  We sincerely thank the authors and their institutes and the working group members for their voluntary contribution. Thanks also to the ISTA Secretariat for publishing this work on the ISTA website with special thanks to Nadine Ettel for making the final uploading of the files. The photographs and drawings have come from four sources, all copyrights are reserved.

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canada © 2013 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), all rights reserved. Use without permission is prohibited.
  • California Department of Food & Agriculture, USA California Department of Food and Agriculture Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved
  • National Food Chain Safety Office, Hungary. National Food Chain Safety Office Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved
  • GEVES-SNES, France. Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved   
  • ISTA Purity Committee   


  • Baldwin, B. G., D. H. Goldman, D. J. Keil, R. Patterson, T. J. Rosatti, and D. H. Wilken (Eds.).  2012.  The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plant of California.  2nd Edtion.  University of California Press.  1568 pp.   
  • Barkworth, M. E., K. M. Capels, S. Long, L. K. Anderton, and M. B. Piep.  2007.  Flora of North America.  Vol. 24, Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Poaceae, part 1.  Oxford University Press.  911 pp.   
  • Barkworth, M. E., K. M. Capels, S. Long, and M. B. Piep.  2003.  Flora of North America.  Vol. 25, Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Poaceae, part 2.  Oxford University Press.  783 pp.   
  • Musil, A. F.  1963.  Identification of Crop and Weed Seeds.  Agriculture Handbook No. 219.  U.S. Department of Agriculture.   
  • Nesbitt, M.  2006.  Identification Guide for Near Eastern Grass Seeds.  Institute of Archaeology University College London.  129 pp.   
  • Terrell, E. E.  1971.  Survey of occurrences of liquid or soft endosperm in grass genera.  Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club Vol. 99(5):264-268.   
  • Walters, D.S. 2011. Identification Tool to Weed Disseminules of California Central Valley Table Grape Production Areas. USDA APHIS PPQ CPHST Identification Technology Program, Fort Collins, CO.

ISTA Universal List of Species

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