Existing plant name reference resources
A number of databases already exist for Latin scientific plant names, to which Kew is a key contributor. Medicinal Plant Names Services (MPNS) will build upon these existing resources and compile new data to create a complete reference list of medicinal plant names (Latin scientific, Latin pharmaceutical, herbal, drug, common and trade) to present an authoritative view and links into the relevant literature and legislation.
International Plant Names Index (www.ipni.org)
IPNI is a comprehensive database of Latin scientific plant names. It is used globally, primarily by the botanical community, as the standard reference for published Latin scientific plant names. Containing 1.6 million records, it is continuously updated as new plant names are published. It is a collaborative project with Harvard University Herbaria and the Australian National Herbarium, hosted and curated at Kew and is accessible free of charge via the internet. Its main use by the botanical community is for nomenclatural and taxonomic research. It does not attempt to provide information on synonymy among plant names.
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (www.kew.org/wcsp)
WCSP has been developed over the last 16 years at Kew with guidance and advice from more than 150 botanical specialists worldwide. It contains world species lists for an increasing number of plant families. For all species in any of the included families, one can discover geographical distribution, full Latin scientific synonymy and cross references to all of the Latin scientific names ever used for each plant, except misapplied and invalid names. Peer reviewed accounts are available online for c. 45% of plant families, which include c. 33% of plant species.
The Plant List (www.theplantlist.org)
The Plant List was built in collaboration with the Missouri Botanical Garden and others worldwide. It is a working list of all known plant species and aims to be comprehensive for all species of vascular plants and Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). The Plant List is not perfect and represents work in progress. The aim was to produce a ‘best effort’ list by 2010 to demonstrate progress and stimulate further work. Data records from numerous existing global checklist databases including WCSP, were brought together and combined with regional and national checklist data and other records from Tropicos, managed by the Missouri Botanical Garden. These resources were then complemented by the inclusion of additional names found in IPNI (for Angiosperms, Gymnosperms, and Ferns & Fern Allies). The Plant List may omit some names and may include some duplicate names. Furthermore those names derived from nomenclators may not include any indication of whether they are accepted names or synonyms. The Plant List includes 1 million Latin scientific names of species rank, of which c. 300,000 are accepted species names, c. 480,000 are synonyms and c. 263,000 are unresolved names, the latter arising when it wasn’t possible to establish from contributing sources whether the name should be accepted or not.
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