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New For You From Kew

The Kew Record of Taxonomic Literature is now available for searching via the Web ( This valuable resource lists references to all publications relating to the taxonomy of flowering plants, gymnosperms, and ferns and to papers of taxonomic interest in related fields, such as anatomy and morphology, palynology, embryology, and reproductive biology, along with relevant bibliographies and biographies. The database contains about 175,000 references published from 1971 to date with new references added once a week.

Researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew have also announced the internet launch of the International Plant Names Index (IPNI). This comprehensive listing of over 1.3 million scientific names for seed plants is the product of a collaboration between Kew scientists and programmers and their partners at two other top botanical research institutions: Harvard University Herbaria, USA, and the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Canberra, Australia. Although many scientific organizations have databases that hold records of plant names and bibliographic sources, until now there has been no freely available, comprehensive, global system. This million-dollar project, jointly funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Headley Trust, and Reuters Foundation, represents a major step toward making accurate information on plant resources available to scientists throughout the world. The IPNI will be used by biologists, conservationists, ecologists, and ethnobotanists in order to check the names and bibliographic details of the plants with which they are working. It is anticipated that it will also have a broader appeal as a "plant name spell checker" for anyone whose interests bring them into contact with scientific plant names, e.g. herbalists, journalists, and even keen gardeners. Eventually, links will lead the user from the name itself to other electronic sources of information on the tree, shrub or herb in question.

The need for a complete listing of all the world's plants by name has long been recognized. In 1881, just a few months before his death, Charles Darwin arranged a legacy of 250 a year for five years so that the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, could employ someone to produce just such a list. The eventual product, entitled Index Kewensis, contained some 400,000 names. However, new names continue to be published at the rate of up to 6,000 a year as new species are described and scientific understanding of relationships among organisms improves. Additions to the list over the past century have resulted in a total database of over 1,000,000 names. When these are combined with data contributed by American and Australian botanists the result is a listing which is unrivalled in size and coverage. For more information and access to the International Plant Names Index see

Title Page
Pseudocentrum in Peru
Carr's Kinabalu Collections

January 2001.
Copyright The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.