Get the Picture… With the Plant Toolbox

— Written By Scott Zona
en Español / em Português

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The Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox is your go-to source for curated images of plants and gardens. The images on the Plant Toolbox have Creative Commons licenses, and the CC license allows you to copy the images (PC: right click, then click “Save image as”; Mac: Control+click, then click “Save Image As…”) for your own use in accordance with the CC license.

Decoding the CC License

Below each photo on the Plant Toolbox is the caption, photographer, and CC license. The license abbreviations are as follows:

  • BY – means the byline (photographer’s name) must be included whenever the photo is used.
  • NC – indicates that only non-commercial use is allowed.
  • ND – means “no derivatives,” i.e., the photo can’t be cropped, edited, mixed or changed in any way.
  • SA – means “share alike” and indicates you must allow others to use the photo in the same way you have used it.

More information on the CC licenses can be found on the CC website.

How Can You Use the Photos?

The Plant Toolbox is a great source of photos for presentations, social media posts, garden signs, brochures, etc. Using a search engine to find images will return a mixed bag of results–some of the images will be correctly identified, but others will not. Knowing whether you have permission to use the image and how to give attribution–that’s even trickier. Save yourself the time and aggravation by searching for plant images on the Plant Toolbox, your trusted source of plant information. 

A screenshot of an image search that returned photos of several very different species.

This search engine image search for “bluebells” returned photos of five different species in four genera (and three separate families). Should have used the Plant Toolbox!

If you're a North Carolina resident with a question about a topic on this site, your local N.C. Cooperative Extension office can help.

Contact your local county center.

Updated on Apr 29, 2024
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