植物智 >> 植物志
《中国植物志》英文修订版
Volume
Family
Editorial Centers
Guidelines
About Foc
What is a Flora?

The word "flora" refers to the plants occurring within a given region as well as to the publication of scientific descriptions of those plants. In order to distinguish between the two, the word is often capitalized when a publication is meant. A Flora may contain anything from a simple list of the plants occurring in an area to a very detailed account of those plants. Floras are different from popular manuals in that they attempt to cover all of the plants, rather than only the most common or  conspicuous ones.

A Flora almost always contains scientific names, and it may also include  common names, literature references, descriptions, habitats, geographical  distribution, illustrations, flowering times, and notes. Less often, Floras  include such specialized information as data on plant chemistry, reproduction,  chromosome numbers, and population occurrences. Sometimes the plants are listed  alphabetically, and sometimes they are represented within a classification  system that indicates which plants are most similar or are thought to be  related. Floras often also include devices called "keys" that enable the user to  identify an unknown plant.

Botanists have been writing Floras since the early 1600s. Physicians used  Floras for information on medicinal plants while horticulturists used Floras to  identify plants that might be brought into cultivation. Floras have documented  plants collected in exotic places as well as plants growing in a botanist‘s own  area. The form of Floras--lists of plants with associated information about  them--has changed very little over the centuries, but in the last two decades  the use of computers to store and organize such information has increased  dramatically.

Early Floras usually were written by individuals, based on observations of  the plant samples and literature available to them, both of which were quite  limited. More recently, Floras of large scope have been written by collaboration  of many authors who collectively have examined thousands of plant samples and  evaluated and incorporated information from dozens, or even hundreds, of  publications.

Interest in tropical areas and concern about the environment have stimulated  increased efforts to inventory and document the plants of the world. The growing  realization that we must both conserve our rapidly dwindling resources and use them more wisely provides an added urgency to these efforts. Thus, the  amount of time and money needed for floristic work is increasing, as are the  diversity and importance of ways in which floristic information is being used  and the number of people who have a direct interest in floristic data.

iPlant.cn 植物智——中国植物物种信息系统 © 2019 版权所有 中国科学院植物研究所 系统与进化植物学国家重点实验室    京ICP备16067583号