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About the World Flora Online project

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The Plant List Version 1 (2010) data contributors

The Plant List is now deprecated and superseded by the WFO Plant List (wfo​plantlist​.org).

To acknowledge initial data contributors that helped build The Plant List, which was uses as the initial backbone for the WFO, we have replicated the original acknowledgements page.

Global species resources

World Checklist of Selected Plant Families

This large database of global monographic treatments was supplied to The Plant List as two separate data sets which were treated slightly differently:


Peer reviewed treatments are available online for 151 Seed Plant families. WCSP gives information on the accepted scientific names and synonyms of selected plant families. It includes more than 320,000 names and allows the user to search for all the scientific names of a particular plant, or the areas of the world in which it grows (distribution). The data set counts upon the collaboration over 16 years of 132 specialists from 25 countries who have contributed data or acted as reviewers.

WCSP (in review)

In addition to the published family checklists the World Checklist database contains data for many other families which have either been completed and await review by specialists or are still being compiled. The Plant List also incorporates these unpublished data which include more than 290,000 additional names.

GrassBase – The Online World Grass Flora

The nomenclatural component of this database currently holds over 60,000 names and lists names for any given genus, geographical region or genus within a geographical region; and links to the GrassBase description for any species. The nomenclatural data from GrassBase is made available through the WCSP system.

The Global Compositae Checklist

is an integrated database of nomenclatural and taxonomic information for the second largest vascular plant family in the world. This checklist is published by the International Compositae Alliance and compiled from many contributed datasets. The database will be continually updated. Additional information such as references, distribution and infraspecific taxa are available on the website. All species are marked as provisionally accepted names’ in the Beta version. The data set has not yet been fully peer-reviewed and may contain some errors. More than 100,000 records derived from The Global Compositae Checklist are included in The Plant List.

The International Legume Database and Information Service

is a long-term programme of co-operation among legume specialists worldwide to create a biodiversity database for the Leguminosae (Fabaceae) family. The database provides a taxonomic checklist plus basic factual data on distribution, common names, life-forms, uses, literature references to descriptions, illustrations and maps. More than 40,000 records derived from ILDIS are included in The Plant List.

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, Richard Pankhurst — Rosaceae

The Rosaceae Database is a dataset of over 55,000 names with classification status, for this economically and ecologically important plant family. This extensive and highly polished dataset was developed by Dr Richard Pankhurst, with the help of colleagues at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, using his PANDORA database system. Due to the horticultural and agricultural importance of this family many taxon names are often of dubious validity and were published in inaccessible literature. However, Richard tracked down the original publication for ca. 95% of the names. Richard died in March 2013, and to facilitate the continued use of the data, the dataset has been included within the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Rosaceae dataset is now being kept up to date as part of WCSP, ensuring a lasting legacy for Richard’s life’s work.

The iPlants project

developed and tested the processes and procedures that would be required during production of an authoritative, global online list of plant names. The project was a collaboration between The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the New York Botanical Garden and was funded from April 2004 to May 2006 by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Checklists for the following families were made available for The Plant List: Bignoniaceae, Iridaceae, Lecythidaceae, Melanophyllaceae, Physenaceae, Sarcolaenaceae, Schlegeliaceae and Sphaerosepalaceae. More than 11,000 records derived from iPlants are included in The Plant List.

The International Organization for Plant Information

aims to provide a series of computerised databases summarizing taxonomic, biological, and other information on plants of the world. IOPI’s mission is to develop an efficient and effective means of providing basic plant information to users, and guide them toward sources of authoritative data. Their checklist currently holds over 200,000 names from which The Plant List includes records for Juncaceae compiled by J. Kirschner (Institute of Botany, Pruhonice) (Over 1,000 name records).

Missouri Botanical Garden

The Bryophyte information was primarily gathered from A Checklist of Mosses and ongoing projects dealing with mosses and liverworts to create World Checklists for these groups. Some liverwort names were not yet available from data sources but are expected to be added in future versions.

Floristic Datasets

Missouri Botanical Garden

the botanical information system at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Tropicos, contains information on over one million plant names and 3.9 million herbarium specimens. The system was developed through the actions of a wide variety of floristic, nomenclatural, and bibliographic projects both at the Garden and in collaboration with other institutions. All of this information is available on the Internet through the Garden’s web site.

Tropicos provides access to the accumulated data on vascular plant and bryophyte as authority files for the development of floras and checklists that provide synthesis of local and regional vegetation. Included within each of these syntheses are indications of acceptance, synonymy and misapplication of names within a floristic region. This information was used to evaluate plant names from these regions for The Plant List.

The project data held by Tropicos and used in the development of The Plant List include:

Information was also gleaned from recent published literature when the acceptance or synonyms have been recorded in Tropicos.

More than 240,000 records derived from Tropicos were included in The Plant List.

  • Flora Mesoamericana
  • Flora of China Checklist
  • Checklist of Bolivia
  • Checklist of Ecuador
  • Checklist of Peru
  • Checklist of Panama

African Plant Database

is a database originating from a collaboration between the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens of the City of Geneva (CJB) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) to bring together all names of vascular plants for sub-Saharan Africa. Further important contributions include North Africa (Alain Dobignard) and Madagascar (Missouri Botanical Garden). It encompasses information on all vascular plant species from Africa, including synonymy and information on the ecology and distribution of species. The database currently (2013) comprises more than 198,000 names of African plants with their nomenclatural status corresponding to some 57,000 accepted species. Data are updated on a regular basis, following the literature.

Madagascan endemics

The iPlants project also provided a checklist for Madagascan endemics.

Plant nomenclatural resources

The International Plant Names Index

is a database of the names and associated basic bibliographical details of seed plants, ferns and fern allies. Its goal is to eliminate the need for repeated reference to primary sources for basic bibliographic information about plant names. The data are freely available and are gradually being standardised and checked. IPNI will be a dynamic resource, depending on direct contributions by all members of the botanical community. IPNI is the product of a collaboration between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Harvard University Herbaria, and the Australian National Herbarium.

Uncompiled name data records derived from Kew’s checklist databases.

Uncompiled name data records from Missouri’s Tropicos database.