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About the World Flora Online project

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Taxonomic Expert Networks (TENs)

The World Flora Online (WFO) Consortium welcomes engagement by the global botanical community to create and join the Taxonomic Expert Networks (TENs) to help improve the WFO taxonomic backbone and curate a global consensus classification.

The WFO Taxonomic Backbone aims to include all effectively published plant names, with every name being assigned a unique WFO identifier, regardless of its taxonomic and nomenclatural status. From the Taxonomic Backbone a single classification of taxon names and their synonyms is built to which descriptions, images, geographic distributions and other content can be attached.

We encourage TENs to adopt a Family level approach in curation of the Taxonomic Backbone but recognise that in some cases a different taxonomic rank may be more appropriate depending on the size of the group in question.

Ideally, backbone data are managed by a TEN within their own database system that can provide an output of tabular data format such are the Darwin Core Archive format. The use of Darwin Core Archive format allows the data to be directly input into the “staging area” of the WFO data management software. The technical Guideline for Taxonomic Backbone contributors that detail requirements, can be found here.

Taxonomic data that we receive from TENs undergo technical data format checks and our database Gatekeeper reports any issues with the data back to the data provider. Once the data pass the initial checks, they undergo further tests in the “staging area” of the system. Here, things like WFO-Identifier consistency, conflicts of family placement, publication or author data discrepancies, etc. are reviewed, where necessary in consultation with the data provider. Finally, the update of the taxonomic backbone is incorporated and completely replaces the previous version.

For TENs that are just starting up we can provide the existing backbone as a start point and for those TENs that do not have the technical resources to maintain their backbone dataset we have a curation tool called Rhakhis that allows TENs to curate their taxonomic data directly in the WFO backbone.

Below is a list of the current WFO Taxonomic Expert Networks and their contact information if you would like to join them. If a TEN is not listed for your taxonomic group, you can contact the WFO Taxonomic Working Group to discuss creation of a new TEN by sending an email to

You can check the status of curation of current TEN Families here

If your Family is part of our Wish List pages and you would like to discuss forming a TEN please do get in touch.

Larger Families (more than 500 species) that do not have a TEN are found here

Smaller Families (less than 500 species) that do not have a TEN are found here

List of Approved Taxonomic Expert Networks (TENs)