BOT 360F - Families of Vascular Plants

Online bibliographic tools for Botany

Major Botany Websites  Guides to Botany Websites  Other online resources

(contributed 2001 by Judy Mills, Acting Head, with additions 2002 by Gail Nichol, Reference Librarian, both at the Noranda Earth Sciences Library; updated September 2003 by TAD)

Major Botany Websites

Botanicus Digital Library at

"Botanicus is a freely accessible portal to historic botanical literature from the Missouri Botanical Garden Library. Botanicus is made possible through support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, W.M. Keck Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation." An amazing array of monographs and journals available here, access to which in print form would require visits to several specialized libraries.

Biodiversity Heritage Library logo at

The Biodiversity Heritage Library resembles Botanicus in that it provides access to a depository of digitized biodiversity literature.


Kew Electronic Plant Information Center (ePIC) at

"ePIC is a major project to bring together all of Kew's digitised information about plants and make it easier to search."

Flora of North America at

FNA presents for the first time, in one reference source, information on the names, taxonomic relationships, continent-wide distributions and morphological characteristics of all plants native and naturalized found in North America north of Mexico. When complete, the Flora will appear in 30 volumes and treat more than 20,000 species of plants, about 7% of the world’s total. It will be available in print and on the web. So far, 4 volumes have been printed and are available on the web. The data may be searched by family, species, location, etc. and will return detailed descriptions, selected references, links to related plants and to other datasets.

Angiosperm Phylogeny Website at

The APW is an ongoing project to characterize all of the orders and families of extant flowering plants as our understanding of their phylogenetic relationships becomes increasingly clear. "Emphasis is placed on plant families because they are the groups - admittedly partly arbitrary as to circumscription, but now for the most part monophyletic - around which many of us organize our understanding of plant diversity" (P. F. Stevens, 2001 onwards. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 9, June 2008 [and more or less continuously updated since]).

Service de la documentation University of Strasbourg - Digital old books - at

Similar to the above, but you have to manually search a list of texts. That said, this list includes several important 16th and 17th century titles by authors like Bauhin and Brunsfels, as well as major 18th and 19th century works.

Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation - Databases - at

"The Institute is in the process of formatting for the Web existing databases of the information contained in its collections and publications. Through the databases, we hope to offer the global community greater access to our information." These include access to BPH Online, an online version of Botanico-Periodicum-Huntianum, an indispensable tool for tracking down information about authors of plant taxonomic works, and the works themselves. Other resources made available here are databases of botanical art, and of works by Linnaeus and his students.

Index Herbariorum at

Information on 3100 public herbaria and 9500 people in 146 countries is listed in the 8th edition of the print index. The online version indexes part 1, the herbaria, not part 2, the collectors. The database may be searched by institution, city, state, acronym, staff member, correspondent, and research specialty. Telephone and fax numbers and e-mail and URL addresses are included. It is published by the New York Botanical Garden and the International Association for Plant Taxonomy.

International Plant Names Index at

IPNI is a database of the names and associated basic bibliographical details of all seed plants. Its goal is to eliminate the need for repeated reference to primary sources for basic bibliographic information about plant names. The data are freely available and are gradually being standardized and checked. IPNI is a dynamic resource, depending on direct contributions by all members of the botanical community. IPNI is the product of a collaboration between The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, The Harvard University Herbaria, and the Australian National Herbarium and their respective indexes, the Index Kewensis, the Gray Card Index and the Australian Plant Names Index. The IPNI site provides extensive help to assist users in searching the database and understanding the nature of the contributors files. The database may be searched to retrieve plant names, authors, publications and collectors.

GRIN Taxonomy at

This database is produced by the US Agricultural Research Service. GRIN taxonomic data provide the structure and nomenclature for the accessions of the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). Many plants (37,000 taxa, 14,000 genera) are included in GRIN taxonomy, especially economic plants. Simple and complex queries of species data may be made. The website also includes a searchable version of World Economic Plants.

IOPI Database of Plant Databases (DPD) at

The DPD is a global list of plant databases showing who is putting together what data and where. It contains virtually no plant data as such, but serves to put users in contact with the projects that do. Most, but not all, entries concern databases about higher plants. Three kinds of database are included:

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Guides to Botany Websites

Internet Directory for Botany at

An excellent comprehensive index containing over 3,3000 links to botanical information available on the Internet. The Alphabetical List may be used to find known sites by name. The Subject List helps users find sites in 18 subject categories, such as : Arboreta and Botanical Gardens Checklists and Floras, Taxonomical Databases, Vegetation Images Lower Plants and Fungi

Scott's Botanical Links at linx/subject

An annotated list of web resources chosen for their educational value, completeness and scientific correctness by a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma.

Botany WWW Sites at

The Botanical Society of America maintains this classified directory of websites organized in 10 major categories including: Jobs and Career Sites Kid’s Educational Sites Image Sites Gardening Sites

Google Web Directory at

Contains over 10,000 links to botanical websites in numerous categories.

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Other online resources

University of Toronto Library Catalogue, Electronic Resources page provides access to online journals to which the university subscribes, and to indexes like Scopus or the Web of Science (the latter is a web interface for the Science Citation Index). You should also have a look at the my.library examples for ideas on how you can organize your use of library-based resources.

Another resource that is available is JSTOR whose goal is to build an easily accessible online archive of scholarly journals, providing access to a complete back run of every participating journal. Issues dating back to the 1800s have been digitized. JSTOR has combined the advantages of page images with searchable full-text, storing the data in both forms. They chose images to provide more accurate access to the non-text material found in scholarly journals, such as photographs, charts, tables, special characters and formulae. The articles are also scanned using OCR (optical character reading) software and the results are used to facilitate full-text searching of the content. This is one of the more exciting features of JSTOR, the ability to conduct an electronic search of this literature, which up to now was only accessible through printed indexes.[This is an excerpt from information contributed to this site by Gail Nichol, Noranda ESC Library]

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| What are plant families? | How do we distinguish them? | How and why do we study them? | Selected vascular plant families of Ontario | Reading List | Course outline |

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