This project has, since 2006, been developing a series of freely available resources including illustrated web pages and multi-access identification keys, in order to make information on Latin American plants more accessible, and to facilitate accurate plant identification for a range of specialist and non-specialist users.
The first suite of Neotropikey products was officially launched in July 2010, including a key to the flowering plant families present in the Neotropics (tropical regions of Latin America) and a series of family information pages. A CD version was also published for use in the field and in areas with no internet access. This was distributed without charge during major botanical conferences in Latin America, and mailed to a network of botanical research institutes and individuals in the region.
The key was developed using Lucid 3.5 software, and the accompanying family web pages with Fact Sheet Fusion. The project follows the APG III classification system and recognises a total of 319 Neotropical angiosperm families. 221 family web pages have so far been contributed, 57 of which include traditional dichotomous keys to genera. More family web pages are periodically added to the site. Over 100 taxonomic specialists have contributed to this process: 45 based in Latin America, 25 based in Kew, and 30 international.
Neotropikey provides an important resource for people with little access to botanical identification literature, and its electronic nature makes it easy to update. The key is constantly being improved via feedback from users, and as more and better images are added.
The project has now moved into its second phase with the launch of its first multi-access genus-level key to Malvoideae (Malvaceae s.s.), which includes 78 genera occurring in Latin America. This is intended as a model for the development of other genus-level Lucid keys for Neotropical plant families. Following the launch of this key, we are investigating how best to provide genus-level information via the internet to supplement the Malvoideae key and future genus-level keys developed under the Neotropikey umbrella.
Selected publications since 2006
- Milliken*, W., Klitgaard*, B., Baracat*, A. and Hind*, D.J.N. (2010). Neotropikey - esforço internacional abrindo as portas virtuais para o conhecimento das plantas neotropicais. In Absy, M.A., de Almeida Matos, F.D. do Amaral, I. L. (eds), Biodiversidade vegetal brasileira: conhecimento, conservação e uso, pp. 25-29. Manaus: Sociedade Botanica do Brasil.
- Milliken, W., Klitgård, B. & Baracat, A.(eds.) 2010. Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics. www.kew.org/neotropikey.
- Klitgård, B. B., Edwards, S.L., Biggs, N. & Frisby, S. (2011). Neotropical Malvaceae (Malvoideae). In: Milliken, W., Klitgård, B. B. & Baracat, A. Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics. www.kew.org/neotropikey.
- Biggs, N., Edwards, S., Frisby, S. & Klitgård, B.B. (2011). Neotropical Malvaceae - Malvoideae. www.kew.org/science/tropamerica/malvaceae.htm.