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Palmweb - Palms of the world online

An innovative internet portal for biodiversity information on all of the world’s palms.

A screenshot of a species page from Palmweb.

Palmweb (www.palmweb.org) is an internet portal for authoritative biodiversity information about palms, one of the most important plant families in the world. It contains information on all ca. 2,400 species and 183 genera of palms gleaned primarily from taxonomic publications, but it is currently expanding to include other data types, such as ethnobotanical information. Palmweb is structured around a checklist of palm names (including synonyms) provided by the World Checklist of Monocotyledons. It is envisaged to be encyclopaedic in scope with the goal of becoming a complete online account of all the palms of the world.

Palmweb primarily delivers taxon pages for every genus and species of palm. Taxon pages may be reached by browsing a taxon tree or searching on names (including synonyms). In addition to up-to-date nomenclature, Palmweb currently contains morphological descriptions for over 40% of palm species and 100% of genera, with additional information where available on biology, ecology, conservation, uses, common names, specimen citations and other topics, and access to original places of publication for over 60% of accepted names and many synonyms. It provides distribution maps for all genera and species to TDWG (Taxonomic Database Working Group) level 3 and images for more than 30% of species. It also includes a glossary of palm terms, interactive identification keys, bibliography, and quick search tools for exploring other databases such as Flickr, Google Images, Genbank, GBIF and the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Palmweb is more than just a portal to deliver information about palms. It was designed as an e-taxonomy site, which means that it is a resource open to the palm research community. Participation of palm specialists is encouraged and essential to ensure that the content provided is reliable and up-to-date. A website maintained by a research community has very particular requirements that differ from a more general community website. Issues related to accreditation and copyright must be taken into account and, therefore structured and coordinated effort among users is required. The European Network of Palm Scientists (www.eunops.org) has played an important role in this respect.

Palmweb is built upon the EDIT Platform for Cybertaxonomy led by the Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum in Berlin (http://wp5.e-taxonomy.eu/) and was developed during the EDIT project (http://www.e-taxonomy.eu/). It is now supported by grants to the EU Framework Programme 7 Palms project (http://www.fp7-palms.org/) and the NERC-funded eMonocot project (http://e-monocot.org/) as well as core Kew resources. Technical development is centred in Berlin and Kew. Content development is led from Kew with the collaboration of the University of Aarhus.

Project partners and collaborators

Denmark

Henrik Balslev (University of Aarhus)

Germany

Walter Berendsohn (Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum, Berlin)

Project funders

European Union
Natural Environment Research Council

Project team

Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives

William Baker, John Dransfield (HRA), Lauren Gardiner

Information Technology

Robert Allkin

Science Teams: 
Project Leader: