Online botanical gardens around the world give students access to a current resource, heretofore perhaps available only in encyclopedias. The Missouri, Royal Gardens and South African (uwc) sites display a variety of species with clear and in-depth descriptions. They are climate sensitive so students can witness the variety in its real environment. Comparisons/contrasts can be made easily.
These resources are especially appropriate as an introduction to online research at the secondary level where prescribed content is taught in preparation for college tests.They are easily adaptable for group work.
The South African site (from the URL go to Secondary Education) also contains an excellent Internet tutorial for beginners. The rationale is political--to help students and adults who missed school during the struggle to end apartheid to catch up and leapfrog into the 21st century.
At the Hawaii site are photos and information about the famous Canoe plants which populated this paradise.
Wish for other paradises or Gardens of Edens? This site, also sponsored by the Reader's Digest, will show beautiful gardens east of India and Indonesia. An Ask The Expert and games are also available on this site, designed by PBS.
Think about what offline investigations could be mounted to complement these global resources.