The Plant List
|Type of site||Encyclopedia|
|Created by||Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden|
The Plant List is a list of botanical names of species of plants, available on the world wide web. It was created by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Missouri Botanical Garden. It is intended to be comprehensive, that is, deal with all known names of species.
There is a complementary project called the International Plant Names Index, in which Kew is also involved. The IPNI aims to provide details of publication and does not aim to determine which are accepted species names. Newly published names are automatically added from IPNI to the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, a database which underlies the Plant List.
The Plant List has 1,040,426 scientific plant names of species rank. 298,900 are accepted species names, belonging to 620 plant families and 16,167 plant genera. The Plant List accepts approximately 300,000 unique species, with 477,000 synonyms for those species, meaning that many had been 'rediscovered' and renamed several times by botanists. As of 2012[update], The Plant List has determined that another 263,000 names are 'unresolved', meaning that botanists have so far been unable to determine whether they are a separate species or a duplication of the 300,000 unique species.
When The Plant List was launched in 2010 (the International Year of Biodiversity), it attracted media attention for its comprehensive approach. Fox News highlighted the number of synonyms encountered, suggesting that this reflected a "surprising lack" of biodiversity on earth." The Plant List also attracted attention for building on the work of English naturalist Charles Darwin, who in the 1880s started a plant list called the Index Kewensis (IK). Kew has added an average of 6,000 species every year since the IK was first published with 400,000 names of species. However, the IK (which by 1913 avoided making taxonomic judgement in its citations) is currently run as part of the IPNI rather than the Plant List.
- "World's Largest Plants Database Assembled". discovery.com. 2010.
- "Summary Statistics". The Plant List. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
- "US, British scientists drew up the comprehensive list of world's known land plants". CBC.[dead link]
- Claire Bates (5 January 2011). "Botanical A-Z via Kew: British experts complete database of every plant name on the planet - all 1.25million of them". London: Daily Mail.
- "World's Plant Life Far Less Diverse Than Previously Thought". Fox News. 30 December 2010.
- "About the Index Kewensis". International Plant Names Index. 2004.