On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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New plants being discovered ( 4 to 6K scientific names published / yr)
No authoritative central reference
c. 0.35 million flowering plants (one botanists educated guess) Q2: How many names are there?
> 1.5 million scientific plant names published
> 4 million “names” incl. common misspellings
i.e. lots more names than plants!
Most plants have many names ( synonyms )
The same binomial may be published by different authors ( “Hocus pocus Bob” & “Hocus pocus John” ) who refer to different plants ( homonyms )
Names used in literature often refer to wrong plant ( misapplied names )
i.e. One plant may have many names
& One name may refer to many plants
Plant name authors are abbreviated in different ways – there IS a standard
“ Noise” increases as names are copied
New errors introduced
Existing errors replicated
Information published about a plant cannot be verified unless specimen(s) are cited
Saussurea costus (Falc.) Lips. has a root widely used in medicine – imported to EU So what does it look like?.... Google it!
51 PubMed Records 215 GenBank Records Searching with Accepted name
Searching with a synonym 03 PubMed Records 14 GenBank Records
Do not expect to find all information that is published using just one name
across the internet or
within a single information source
You will have to work hard to find all synonyms of a given plant
Examples of impact
EU Health authority publish legislation (re herbal & poisonous plants) Several either meaningless (non existent names) or ambiguous (homonyms)
US & Japanese health authority lists: 20% plants names do not exist. 5%: plants recorded more than once – under different names.
World Bank funds multimillion $ forestry programme in NE Brazil local tree (“ Ziziphus joazeiro Mart. ”) has exciting potential 3 different species grown in the plots!
World Conservation Monitoring Centre (IUCN) maintain database 70% of maintenance costs relate to entering, checking and reviewing plant names and distributions.
Q1: Does name “Hocus pocus” exist? Q2: How should it be written? Q3: Where can I find the original publication? Q4: Do any homonyms exist? Q5: Who is/are the authors? International Plant Name Index http:// www.ipni.org Available resources / standards: 1) Nomenclators > Kew + Harvard + Australian Botanical Inst > 1.5 million published plant names (>96%) > 37,000 authors > 15,000 publications Target audience – systematists, db compilers
Q1: What is the “accepted name” of this plant ? Q2: Are names ‘x’ and ‘y’ synonymous? Q3: How many plants are in this genus? Q4: How many plants are in this country? Q5: List all synonyms for this plant?
coherent authoritative global list of plants (e.g. in a family)
index to ALL relevant names
provides further information e.g. geographical distribution, uses, etc
Available resources / standards 2) Checklists Kew’s World Checklist of Selected Plant Families – covers 150 plant families http://www.kew.org.uk/wcsp/ 45-50% complete Example:
Comparison of names in NCBI and Kew systems (106 families)
1) Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (CBD)
TARGET 1: A list of all plants by 2010 – facilitated by Kew. 60% complete Kew and Missouri work toward draft checklist + other data ( www.iplants.org )
Catalogue of Life (Sp2000 + ITIS) ( www.sp2000.org ) Serves existing checklists for all organisms (plants, animals, insects etc) Much of Kew’s checklist data served. Offers alternative / conflicting views
Global Biodiversity Information Framework ( www.gbif.org ) Serves specimen records from collections worldwide Name catalogue served from “Catalogue of Life”
Encyclopedia of Life ( www.eol.org ) Species pages – coordinating existing knowledge (video/ text/ images etc) No additional name data. Use “Catalogue of Life” as backbone
Moving forward: improving Kew’s plant name services
Tailored consultancies – for target groups
e.g. Medicinal Plants - WHO, EMEA, ICH
reporting on existing lists of plant names
validating, cleaning & completing name lists
building and maintaining subsets for focus groups
Designing & developing web services
automated responses to queries from other system / API
maintenance of name lists avoiding costs for users
Seeking to develop partnerships with user groups
inform design of services / user needs
develop resource to meet specific demands
Thanks for your attention! Questions? Ideas to pursue? PS Biodiversity Information Standards Taxonomic Databases Working Group TDWG http://www.tdgw.org/ Ontologies / Vocabularies / Schemas / LSIDs