Fwd: New version of The Plant List : 7 posts by 6 authors.

With the release of The Plant List in 2010 taxonomists around the world were greatly relieved with the hope of finding accepted names at one place. Unfortunately there were more conflicts than solutions. I have already sent more than 1000 corrections in seven separate mails. Hope these are others communicated by rest of the taxonomic community are taken care of in compiling the second list which as we understand would be online shortly.

Following need urgent attention in the second list

1. Long list of unresolved names.

2. Listing of several subspecies and varieties (which is always welcome) but not mentioning the autonym.

2. Mention of autonyms (Brassica juncea subsp. juncea) but no other subspecies or variety is listed as accepted name. An autonym is created only when some other subspecies or variety is recognised. When we don’t recognise any other subspecies, B. juncea subsp. juncea is redundant.

3. several cases of name combinations (there are thousands of examples in the First List) where no synonym is listed, not even the basionym.

4. Numerous examples in which author name is given after the autonym epithet, It is well known fact that autonyms are automatically created and won’t bear author name.

your email was forwarded to me.

We are pleased that you find TPL useful. We are painfully aware of its limitations.

We know that the second version will be a great improvement on Version 1. It is currently delayed for a week for want of some extra computer memory. However we are equally certain that it will not resolve all of your correction and wishes. Some of the issues you raise are better handled than before but not perfectly. We are only able to present data as sent to us.

All corrections sent to us will have been forwarded to the owner/editor of the database from which that record derives. Whether or not those suggestions were included in the database I cannot tell. We have ambitions for making TPL very much better but the whole project is done on a voluntary basis. If you have suggestions as to how we might find resources to improve it then I would be delighted to hear from you

thanks for your interest and please do continue to send corrections we will forward to the relevant institution.

…, thanks for your comments. I just wanted to add to the response of my colleague regarding the limitations of the Plant list. We have always tried to be open about these and in the next version we have added the following paragraph to the ‘about’ pages of the next version. Thanks again for all your comments. Best wishes, …


The Plant List is not perfect and represents work in progress. Data comes from a variety of sources which are both monographic (global) and regional in scope. These data sources vary in the extent to which comprehensive synonymy is included, their stage of development (proximity to publication) and the degree to which they have been exposed to peer review. The Plant List indicates the confidence which can be given to the status of a particular name record using a star rating. Around 20% of names are unresolved indicating that, considered collectively, the data sources included provided insufficient evidence as to whether the name should be treated as accepted or not.

The Plant List is static. It is neither updated regularly from the original data sources, nor edited directly. Data was extracted from source databases in May 2012 and thus records included here may differ from their current equivalent records in the source database from which they were taken. Where you suspect errors in The Plant List, please first check the source databases where corrections may have already been made. Feedback and corrections pertaining to records in The Plant List are passed on to the source database for consideration. If accepted by the source database they may be incorporated in a future version of The Plant List. We do not edit or revise the content of The Plant List directly.

There exist other reliable authoritative sources of taxonomic opinion for some groups or some regions which we simply did not have the time or resources to include in this version of The Plant List. Our ambition is for future versions to be more inclusive and comprehensive. Although The Plant List may be the most comprehensive single information resource covering all plants, it is imperfect and not all the taxonomic decisions contained derive from a peer reviewed, curated, authoritative source. The Plant List therefore should only be treated as advisory. Other, more authoritative lists may exist for particular regions or taxa.

Above is the response which should help members to decide how much we expect from the Second Version of The Plant List.

Thanks … for your efforts. Being a global database, and also ‘done on a voluntary basis’, TPL may have its own difficulties and limitations. Being a regular user of TPL, I am shocked to know that it is ‘static’ and not dynamic.

I wonder if TPL can be open to us at eFI so that we can contribute by editing/updating its records wherever possible. Of course, the edits will be peer-reviewed by TPL before being finally published in the database.

Thanks …

Your continued efforts will definitely show results some day.

A very positive response. Seems to be one step ahead.

I believe that Plant List is a huge document available to every one and despite of many limitations it is very useful. Thanks to it, it is free and open to all.

Can we compare our own efforts (all taxonomists of India) for just providing a checklist of flowering plants of India; mere 17,926 species but still even no checklist ! An if it exists, is it available to every one ?.
Thanks to eFI which contains big proportion of this flora which is open to all.

Well said, …

Agreed with … We Can start with District wise list and then Statewise Checklist. We are near to compile Checklist of Haryana almost 80% done