Plant Conservation
5:00 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Missouri Botanical Garden to help build online global plant database

The Missouri Botanical Garden has announced plans to help build an online database of the world’s plants.

Working with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and the New York Botanical Garden, the Missouri Botanical Garden will compile information on as many as 400,000 land plant species, with the goal of having all the data available online by 2020.

“There are few institutions in the world that have the capacity to foster this project, and no one of us could do this alone,” said Missouri Botanical Garden president Peter Wyse Jackson. “We all want to see this come to fruition, and the entire international community will benefit from it. With the botanical resources and knowledge we each possess, it was implicit that our institutions would step forward to collaborate on this project,” Jackson said.

The project will build on earlier work by the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In 2010, the two institutions launched The Plant List, an online portal containing the accepted names and synonyms of all known land plant species.

The new World Flora database will include not just names but also descriptions, images, and geographic distribution information about every plant. The Missouri Botanical Garden hopes the online database will serve as a resource for global plant conservation efforts.

Development of a World Flora is one of the first goals of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity's Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. At least 100,000 plant species are threatened by extinction worldwide.