Flora Zambesiaca involves the writing and publishing of a regional Flora (in around 53 parts) for south-central Africa, covering Botswana, the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It started in 1960 and was designed to provide a catalogue of the plant species of the area, a means to identify them using keys, and an indication of distribution. The total Flora is estimated at 10,500 species, of which around 90% has been published to date. It is intended that the flora will be over 95% complete by the end of 2016.
A number of partner institutions have been involved over the years, including national herbaria in the region and institutions in Portugal. Many family treatments have been prepared by past and present Kew staff members.
Since 2000, there have been efforts to increase the accessibility of information contained in the printed volumes of the African Floras. All published volumes of Flora Zambesiaca up to 2008 are now available as a fully searchable database on the internet. The database retrieves information for any name and allows the compilation of checklists of taxa for geographical divisions of the flora. Advanced features include filtering on habit, habitat, altitudinal range and endemic status. Dichotomous identification keys are included, but not illustrations.
Post-Flora products such as regional checklists with updated nomenclature and distribution information, lists of endemic/near-endemic species, conservation checklists and field guides to specific areas are being compiled.
Project partners and collaborators
University Herbarium, Maputo
University of Coimbra
Buffelskloof Herbarium, Lydenberg
Mt Makulu Herbarium, Lusaka
Flora of Zimbabwe website, Harare
University of Zimbabwe, Harare