Flora of North America: Synergy with other Botanical Projects
Skinner, Mark W. .
The USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database—a floristic tool for the future.
THE United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database (PLANTS) serves online information to 7 million customers each year, so it is one of the premier digital plant information systems in the world. Land plants and lichens are included: vascular plants are comprehensively treated for the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other groups are catalogued for North America excluding Mexico. Several thousand extra-North American plants of economic or conservation importance are also included (these are omitted from the figures given below). Data are compiled from many sources and integrated into PLANTS by staff at the NRCS National Plant Data Center, and are served online at the NRCS Information Technology Center.
The comprehensive regional scope and breadth of information at PLANTS allow diverse floristic comparisons concerning land plants. PLANTS currently accepts 37,740 vascular and non-vascular plant taxa at the rank of genus and below, although the number of unique, biologically meaningful taxa is lower due to the hierarchical nesting of taxonomic concepts. Biologically meaningful taxa—approximated by the accepted unique terminal taxa below the rank of genus—number 29,936, of which 72% (21,619) are dicotyledons, 16% (4,891) are monocotyledons, 5% (1,434) are mosses, and 3% (906) are ferns. 14% of this flora is introduced, 4% and 14% respectively are regulated as noxious weeds or protected by a state or the federal government, and 18% are regulated under the federal Clean Water Act as plants that grow in wetlands.
45% of the biologically relevant plant diversity within the PLANTS floristic area is contained in the 10 largest families; 25% within just the three largest families Asteraceae, Fabaceae, and Poaceae. 419 traditional plant families are represented, including 77 that are monospecific within the floristic area.
The paper offers additional floristic analyses at the state or county level.
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1 - USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center, P.O. Box 74490, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70874-4490, USA
Digital plant information
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Date: Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006
Time: 2:00 PM