Branching identification key

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A branching identification key is a presentation form of a single-access key where the structure of the decision tree is displayed graphically as a branching structure, involving lines between items.[1] Depending on the number of branches at a single point, a branching key may be dichotomous or polytomous.

In a diagnostic key, the branching structure of the key should not be mistaken for a phylogenetic or cladistic branching pattern.

All single-access keys form a decision tree (or graph if reticulation exists), and thus all such keys have a branching structure. "Branching key" may therefore occasionally be used as a synonym for single-access key.

Examples of branching presentations[edit]


  1. ^ a b Winston, J. 1999. Describing Species. Columbia University Press.
  2. ^ The Natural History Museum 2000. Sorting creepy-crawlies.