GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora


W.D. Clayton, M.S. Vorontsova, K.T. Harman & H. Williamson

© Copyright The Board of Trustees, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


In a large family it is a daunting task to collect information from a diffuse literature in many languages, and then to search this for data relevant to the problem in hand. Grassbase seeks to ease this burden by presenting a synopsis of current taxonomy, at the same time allowing the user to roam across the whole family in order to expose discrepancies and test improvements.

The underlying principles are that it should:
  1. Embody the principal elements of a conventional Flora; description, nomenclature, identification and distribution.
  2. Be open-ended, with no impediment to additional taxa.
  3. Be a working tool, continuously updateable and capable of converging on a consensus - or at least as near as taxonomists can get to agreement.
GrassBase can be accessed by:
  1. Viewing natural-language descriptions on this website.
  2. Downloading the Synonym database for nomenclature, distribution and links to natural-language descriptions.
  3. Downloading the Description database for identification and working with individual characters.

A compilation of this sort inevitably entails many errors, omissions and arbitrary judgements. We appreciate that it is an approximation, but with the potential to advance by successive improvements. We are, therefore, always glad to be notified of corrections, and to incorporate these in the database. In particular we would draw attention to the list of unidentified names.

Before downloading the database, please consult the notes for users, terms of use and details of how to cite us.