Which database to follow? : 15 posts by 1 author.
While following different databases for last few years, I have seen totally different taxonomic treatments in these: Kew Database (Plants of The World Online), World Flora Online (replacement for TPL) and Catalogue of Life (April 2020 Beta version).
I have mostly been following the Catalogue of Life, but while preparing the list of species reported from India, I noticed that several species are not even listed in this database. I could find all these in Kew Database. This raises a big question, which database we should follow for the sake of unanimity. As different volunteers are working for updation of our website, we need to develop consensus. As per my recent experience I would vote for Kew Database. Your opinions please to reach an agreed solution.
I think WCSP is one of the most reliable, but limited only to a limited number of families (The checklist includes 200 Seed Plant families (View list of included families))- It was earlier relied upon by The Plant List for these families (but was based on fixed data submitted to them in 2012) and now by The Catalogue of Life as well as POWO depend on this for most of these families.
Then there are others like Catalogue of Life and POWO. GBIF relies on Catalogue of Life, but names of synonymous species (which were at some point were accepted) are also shown on the thumbnails in the gallery (in case there is some different treatment by somebody else). But Catalogue of life does not indicate bibliography as is being done in GRIN earlier and now in POWO (so we do not know upto what date publications have been considered). But if it gives detailed distribution, it may be considered that a wide range of sources have been considered.
Then there are eFloras (like those of China, Pakistan and Nepal), which were published online in the early 2000.
Then one may not find one species in some of the databases due to some slight difference in spelling in the middle or at the end of the name.
Earlier it was GRIN, which has almost gone now. Then came ITIS and The Plant List, a good attempt to start with. These are almost replaced by WCSP, Catalogue of Life, Plants of the World Online etc.
It is good to see competition. And it is always better to consult a few of them rather than depending on one. And finally choose one that you feel is better for a particular species, genus or family depending upon from where the underlying data is coming from.
Recently there has been widespread changes in many genera, but we have to consciously see and decide if we have to follow them for the sake of familiarity or not.
The opinion of the Experts on our group in the past or future, may also be considered.
Just an example I was looking up latest taxonomic status of Polyalthia cerasoides (Roxb.) Benth. & Hook.f. ex Bedd. listed in BSA Flora of India. Catalogue of Life showed it as synonym of Hubera cerasoides (Roxb.) Chaowasku, whereas Kew Database showed both as synonyms of Huberantha cerasoides (Roxb.) Chaowasku. On further looking up I found former published in 2012 and latter in 2015 by the same author, obviously it is logical to follow latter. Plus as I wrote Catalogue of Life simply does not list many names.
We have to follow which we feel is more logical.
Yes …, I find a lot of discrepancies as well. Some names in POWO is completely different which is not mentioned in any other sites and accepted names/ synonyms v.v..
I think the Kew Database is more reliable
Thanks, … It is a question who has updated with the latest publications as well as who has dipped into other databases like BSI Flora of India, India’s regional Floras and eFloras etc. Sometimes it is POWO and sometimes it is Catalogue of Life.
We have to consult both and then decide which to follow.
I usually consult various databases to get a more complete picture, but more frequently POWO. When there is discrepancy in the names among TPL, CoL, GBIF, POWO, I have found POWO as more reliable and inclusive.
Tropicos (https://www.tropicos.org/home) is also great; it provides reference details of who accepted a name or treated as synonym, and also tags names whether it’s a nom. cons., legitimate, invalid, nom. rej., or illegitimate.
For medicinal plants species, I would refer to MPNS (https://mpns.science.kew.org/mpns-portal/) which is the most recent and being actively updated for medicinal plants. This database gives both common/vernacular and botanical names, often sourced from WCSP & POWO, with references.
Here are the two families (Annonaceae and Dilleniaceae) with list of species reported from India and those represented on our website, nomenclature updated from Kew Database. Fortunately generic distribution and nomenclature agrees with what we have on our database.
Attachments (2)- Annonaceae.docx & Dilleniaceae.docx
Here is the file for Menispermaceae
Attachments (1)- Menispermaceae.docx
Added at Menispermaceae
Here is file for Berberidaceae. Please note all species of Mahonia have been transferred to Berberis. I have accordingly given synonyms also, a few species merged also.
Attachments (1)- Berberidaceae.docx
Thanks, … Here comes whether to follow or not, as we have been so familiar with Mahonia.
I have added it to the site.
Great efforts on your part, … What us the current status of Mahonia spp. ?
Here is a reply from Dr. Bhaskar Adhikari (KEW), who has revised the Berberis in Nepal:
“Thanks for your email. Yes Mahonia have been transferred to Berberis but there is still a controversy some preferred to treat them differently. There are small group of South American Mahonias which are kind of between Berberis and typical Mahonias. More DNA work is needed both in Berberis and Mahonia to revise it’s classification. For the time being both ways i.e treating them together or separate would be fine.