The initial purpose in developing Lucid was to provide taxonomists with software they could use to develop matrix identification keys for use by non-taxonomists. It soon became apparent that agronomists and other agricultural scientists could use Lucid software in a different way, to develop crop diagnostic tools for use by farmers, advisors, and other non-specialists.

When faced with a “sick” crop, it is often observable signs which initially provide a clue to the cause of the problem, whether it is due to signs such as chewed leaves, dying plants, fungal growth, drought, nutrient deficiencies, incorrect management, or other causes. For the same reason, Lucid keys can be used to provide help in diagnosing other problems, such as animal or human health.

The selected examples below illustrate how Lucid diagnostic keys have been developed for a number of tropical and temperate crops. This is followed by two examples of Lucid keys developed for the diagnosis of human oral ulceration and for the diagnosis of sheep parasites.

Crop Diagnostic Tools

To help farmers and their advisors make an initial diagnosis of the cause of observed crop disorders, agronomists, together with other specialists (entomologists, agronomists, plant pathologists, soil scientists, etc.) have developed a number of crop specific diagnostic keys over the past 20 years or so, some of which are described below. You can get a general idea how a crop diagnostic key works by viewing the tutorial that steps you through the use of the MyCrop Wheat app for diagnosing a specific problem in wheat in Western Australia, in the first case study.

MyCrop keys combine logos


To provide diagnostic help to growers and their advisors, the MyCrop team within the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food has developed a series of Lucid Mobile apps – “to bring crop diagnostics to the paddock”. 


In addition to the diagnostic tools described above, the MyCrop team in Western Australia have also developed a Lucid matrix key to help growers identify the soil type on their farm, providing another means of determining possible soil constraints to crop growth and any measures that could be taken to reduce these constraints.

MySoil WA soil map

Rice Doctor

A Lucid-based crop diagnostic tool for rice in SE Asia was one of the first to be developed. It was the result of a long-term research project involving the International Rice Research Institute, PhilRice in the Philippines, the Rice Research Institute in Indonesia and the University of Queensland.

Rice Doctor icon
Sweetpotato icon

Sweetpotato Diagnotes

Is an interactive tool for extension workers, students, researchers and others who want to learn about the crop; about the pest, disease and other problems that can occur; how to diagnose crop symptoms and what management practices can be used to deal with sweetpotato disorders.

Solanaceae Fruit Field Guide

A decision support app for tomato and similar crops, developed by the NSW Department of Primary Industry and Asian collaborators for use in Australia and SE Asia. Funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, the app provides a “one-stop-shop” for advisors and growers. 

Solanaceae Fruit Field Guide icon
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Bunching vegetables

An interactive key and field guide for the identification of insects pests, beneficials, diseases and disorders in Australia, developed by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries with funding from Hort Innovation and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

A Medical Diagnostic Tool

A Key to the Diagnosis of Oral Ulceration – developed by Laurie Walsh (University of Queensland School of Dentistry) and Alex Forrest (Griffith University) both in Brisbane, Australia, provides an example of a Lucid key for diagnosing a specific health disorder. It is an intuitive diagnostic tool which quickly reduces the range of likely causes of ulcers based on the patient’s history and features presented. 

Diagnosis of Sheep Parasites

Sheep Parasites is a key developed by Muhannad Azeen SAEED and Abdul JABBAR at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Aimed at students and practitioners, this key provides a training and decision support tool to help identify both endo- and ecto-parasites in Australia and around the world.