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Survey of Economic Plants for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (SEPASAL) - COMPLETED

SEPASAL is the world's most comprehensive online source of information on useful 'wild' and semi-domesticated tropical and subtropical dryland plants, with a focus on Africa.

By 'useful' we mean plants which humans eat, use as medicine, feed to animals, make things from, use as fuel, and many other uses. We focus on drier parts of the world because these are home to one sixth of the world's population, in some of the poorest countries. The database contains information on approximately 7,000 species.

Please note that SEPASAL does not contain any information on wet tropical species.

Following an initial grant from OXFAM in 1981, The Clothworkers' Foundation funded SEPASAL throughout the 1990s. SEPASAL's Internet development was funded by The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust. Until recently SEPASAL 'nodes' were in operation at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) and the National Botanical Research Institute of Namibia (NBRI). As result, information held on East African and Southern African species has increased.

SEPASAL uses a number of international (TDWG) standards for recording plant information, including the following for recording plant uses:

Economic Botany Data Collection Standard

Search the SEPASAL database 

Project partners and collaborators


National Museums of Kenya (NMK) (Up to December 2008)


National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) (Up to December 2008)

Project funders


The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust (previously, to 2008)
Millennium Commission (previously, to 2008)

Project Department