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How to use the portal

Welcome to this guide to using the MPNS portal, which provides an overview of the portal's main functionalities.

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If you do not find an answer to your question here or on the FAQs page, or if you have feedback about the portal please contact us at mpns@kew.org

Try the beta release of our portal

Overview:


Search the MPNS resource

Enter the name of a medicinal plant in the search box.

As you type, a drop-down list of up to 30 names in the MPNS resource that match your search term is created. You can pick from this list or use the exact term that you have entered.

To use a name in the list, click on it and then either click on ‘Go’ or press enter/return.

To use your own search term (which might be broader than the names in the list, e.g. a genus rather than a particular species), click on ‘Go’ when you have finished typing. Do not press enter/return in this instance as your search will default to the first item in the list. The ‘Limit search to’ box enables you to narrow your search to either Scientific names or Non-scientific names before you search.


Search results

Your results are displayed on five tabs as follows:

  • Accepted scientific names tab:

These are the ‘accepted’ scientific names for the plants that your search term can relate to. Accepted scientific names are taken from Kew’s names databases - either the World Checklist (published and unpublished) or The Plant List.

There may be more than one accepted scientific name listed if your term is ambiguous.

For example, the common name ‘hogweed’ refers to five different plant species according to publications covered in the resource so far, including Physalis angulata L., Heracleum sphondylium L. and Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. They are arranged numerically, so that the names associated with the greatest number of records are towards the top.

If you can’t see the name you are expecting it might be because it is now considered to be a synonym. Click on the ‘Scientific names as used in medicinal plant references’ tab and see if your name appears there.

  • Scientific names as used in medicinal plant references tab:

These are scientific names as they are printed in medicinal plant references covered to date, following the exact spelling as published. This means that the same name can be listed more than once with slight spelling variations. They are arranged alphabetically.

The number of records relating to each name is also shown. Clicking on a name in this table leads to its corresponding Accepted scientific name details page.

  • Non-scientific names tab:

These are non-scientific names (e.g. common, pharmaceutical and drug names) corresponding to your search, as they appear in the medicinal plant references covered to date. They are arranged alphabetically so that similar names occur next to one another. The number of records relating to each name is also shown. Clicking on a name in this table leads to another table showing the possible accepted scientific names to which this non-scientific name relates. Click on one of these to access the corresponding Accepted scientific name details page.

  • Medicinal plant references tab:

This provides details of which references in the resource include names corresponding to your search. They are arranged with the most recently published first. The number of records relating to each publication is also shown. Clicking on a publication in this table leads to a details page providing a full reference to that publication and the number of scientific names and non-scientific names collected from the reference by MPNS.

  • All records tab:

A summary of results from the other four tabs with options for filtering your results on the right (see below). Records are arranged alphabetically by the ‘All names’ column.

The currently active tab is highlighted and inactive tabs are pale grey. You can quickly switch between tabs by clicking on them. Clicking on each tab will display a table showing results for that category. The number of results in the table is displayed on the tab itself, which allows you to see how many accepted scientific names, alternative names and references the records relating to your search refer to.


From the tabbed Results pages you can:

The default arrangement for each results tab varies (see Search results for details). Change the sorting arrangement by clicking on the heading of any table column.  

  • Filter your search

The All records tab shows a summary table of results from the other four tabs. Narrow your search using the four filter boxes to the right of the table. Click on ‘See all’ to expand each category as follows:

1. Accepted Names: Filter your results to show records relating to only one of the available Accepted scientific names relating to your search term.

2. Name Categories: Filter your results to show records relating to just one type of name. The choices are:

Non-scientific names: e.g. common, pharmaceutical and drug names.

Scientific names in medicinal references: scientific names as they are printed in medicinal plant references covered to date, following the exact spelling as published. This means that the same name can be listed more than once with slight spelling variations.

Scientific names linked from taxonomic databases. This category includes all accepted scientific names as well as any synonyms to which these relate as taken from Kew’s names databases.

3. All Names: Filter your results to show records relating to just one of all possible names, from all name types, associated with your search.

4. Medicinal Plant References: Filter your results to view results from only one reference.

NB. if you have already narrowed your search to ‘Non-scientific names’ using the ‘Name type’ box in the search query, there will only be three filter boxes to the right of the table. ‘Name Categories’ will not appear and the ‘All Names’ filter will be replaced by a ‘Non-scientific names’ filter.

Clicking on any term in a filter box will reduce what you see in results tables on each tab accordingly. The term that you have selected is indicated by a tick in the box in front of it. Simply click again to deselect the filter term. You can select a filter term from more than one filter box at a time, but at present there is no facility to select more than one term within the same filter category.

The numbers after the filter headings indicate how many of that type of term correspond to the results of your search. The number after each filter term indicates how many times that term is associated with your search.

  • Find more details about a Name

Some names in the results table are highlighted in blue to indicate that they link to more information. These are either Accepted scientific names that correspond to your search term, Scientific names as used in medicinal plant references or Non-scientific names, depending on which tab you are looking at.

Click on an Accepted scientific name to access the Accepted scientific name details page.

If you click on a name that isn’t an Accepted scientific name it will link to an Accepted scientific name page, or to a table showing a list of Accepted scientific names if more than one possible match exists.


Accepted scientific name details page

If you click on an accepted scientific name or a scientific name as used in medicinal plant references it will link to an Accepted name details page.

This page displays the information held in the resource that corresponds to a particular plant species, subspecies or variety.

The ‘Accepted scientific name’ at the top of the page is the name that MPNS considers to be correct for that species, based on taxonomic databases facilitated by Kew.

This name is formed from a Latin binomial (genus plus species epithet) followed by the author(s) (the person or people who published that name). The place where the name was first published (the citation) is also displayed after the author.

The ‘Taxonomic source’ tells you from which database the details of the name and its synonyms have been obtained (you can click on the link to find more information about the source database).

Below the summary are four tabs, each of which will display a table containing additional information about the Accepted scientific name. Click on a tab to view the corresponding table.

  • ‘Non-scientific names and plant parts’ tab:

Lists pharmaceutical and common or 'other' names as used by the references they appear in. Names are spelt exactly as they appear in the references although capitals have been removed to facilitate searching and sorting of results.

The type of name is indicated in the ‘Class of name’ column. This table may also contain information on ‘trade forms’ (the processed plant material) and ‘plant parts’ (parts of the plant from which the processed form is derived). Some references list more plant parts than trade forms, resulting in a discrepancy between the two columns. At present we are piloting the inclusion of this information in the portal and welcome opinions both on the information that we are displaying and how it is displayed.

  • ‘Scientific synonyms’ tab:

Lists the scientific synonyms that correspond to the ‘Accepted name’ in Kew’s taxonomic databases. Synonyms are listed in alphabetical order. 

  • ‘Published in medicinal plant references as’ tab:

Lists the scientific names for the species, including its synonyms, exactly as they have been spelt in the medicinal plant references in the resource. This list may include names that are out of date (synonyms), misspelt or used incorrectly (misapplied). Clicking on a reference will link to further details about that reference: full citation details and the numbers of scientific and non-scientific names from the reference that are held in the resource.

  • ‘Further information’ tab:

Provides outward links to selected online resources that may be of interest. There is the option to search using just the MPNS accepted name (left column) or search using the accepted name and all of its synonyms (right column). The second option enables you to find information about a plant regardless of whether it was published using the accepted name or a synonym. Depending on the plant and how the synonyms have been used in the past, this could mean a difference in the number of results returned in the order of hundreds. We are open to suggestions of other information sources that we could link to or partner with. Please contact us at mpns@kew.org


Non-scientific name details page

If you click on a name that isn’t a scientific name it will link to a non-scientific name details page.

This page displays the information held in the resource that corresponds to the non-scientific name at the top of the page.

Below this are three tabs, each of which will display a table containing additional information about the non-scientific name. Click on a tab to view the corresponding table. 

‘Accepted scientific name(s)’ tab: these are the ‘accepted’ scientific names for the plants that your search term can relate to. Accepted scientific names are taken from Kew’s names databases; either the World Checklist (published and unpublished) or The Plant List.

‘Published in medicinal plant references as’ tab: provides details of which references in the resource included the non-scientific name. For each reference you can see the scientific name (as it was spelt) that was associated with the medicinal plant name, what we have matched that name to (this could be a synonym), and the MPNS Accepted scientific name (the accepted name). Clicking on a reference will link to further details about that reference. Full citation details and the numbers of scientific and non-scientific names from the reference that are held in the resource.

‘Other non-scientific names’ tab: lists the other names associated with this medicinal plant name in the resource, e.g. pharmaceutical, common and drug names.


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