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Flora of Iraq

The Flora of Iraq started in 1960 as a project of the National Herbarium, Ministry of Agriculture, Baghdad in collaboration with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK.

Iraq map (Image: RBG Kew)

The Flora of Iraq, with its wealth of over 3300 species, was planned to be published in 9 volumes. Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4(1 & 2), 8 & 9 were published between1965 and 1985 (for details see Volume 2) with contributors from all over the world, edited and published at Kew. After the publication of Volume 8 (Monocotyledons, excl. Poaceae) in 1985, the change of government in Iraq led to the discontinuation of funding, and it was therefore, not possible to publish any more volumes.

During 2011, facilitated by the new Iraq government, it has been possible to restart the Flora of Iraq, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Baghdad. The remaining three volumes, of approximately 1530 species (vols. 5(1 & 2), 6, 7), exist in part, as typescripts and hand written manuscripts that are at various stages of completion. Much work is needed, including the training of botanists in skills for flora writing, creating new descriptions, vigorous editing and updating, before any of the remaining volumes are in a form which will be ready for publication. Work on Volume 5(2) is now underway under the editorship of Dr Shahina Ghazanfar.

This project will contribute substantially towards the completion of a major, collaborative Kew initiative. It will fill a gap in our present knowledge of the biodiversity of this important floristic region.

The Flora of Iraq project is entirely herbarium based, and we a working in collaboration with Iraqi botanists for mutual benefit, as this partnership streamlines the process of updating distribution records and describing new species.

Volumes to be published:

Volume 5: 620 species. To be published in 2 parts: 5(1) - 300 species, 40% complete; 5(2) - 320 species, 90% complete. Needs: writing of 240 species; OCR scanning and updating of old treatments; illustrations for many species.

Volume 6: 450 species, 80% complete. Needs: writing of 40 species; key to genera; OCR scanning + updating of old treatments; plates for several species.

Volume 7: 450 species, 20% complete. Needs: writing of ± 350 species; illustrations for most species therein; OCR scanning and updating of old treatments.

Each volume also needs editing; layout & typesetting, scanning of illustration plates; printing.

Project partners and collaborators

Iraq

Dr Abdulatif Rahim Hassan, National Herbarium Iraq, Ministry of Agriculture, Baghdad.
Dr Raad M Salman, National Herbarium Iraq, Ministry of Agriculture, Baghdad.
Ikhlas Hossein, National Herbarium Iraq, Ministry of Agriculture, Baghdad.
Ali Haloob, Nature Iraq (Lamiaceae)

USA

Dr Ehsan al Shehbaz, Missouri Botanic Garden
Dr L J Musselman, Old Dominion University

Turkey

Dr Ali Kandemir (Convolvulaceae, Caryophyllaceae)