The Plant List is a list of botanical names of species of plants created by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Missouri Botanical Garden and launched in 2010. It was intended to be comprehensive, that is, deal with all known names of species.
There is a complementary project called the International Plant Names Index, in which Kew is also involved. The IPNI aims to provide details of publication and does not aim to determine which are accepted species names. Newly published names are automatically added from IPNI to the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, a database which underlies the Plant List.
|The Plant List|
Type of site
|Created by||Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden|
|Alexa rank||138,478 as of 20140119|
|Current status||version 1.1 September 2013|
The Plant List has 1,064,035 scientific plant names of species rank. 350,699 are accepted species names, belonging to 642 plant families and 17,020 plant genera. The Plant List accepts approximately 350,699 unique species, with 470,624 synonyms for those species, which suggests that many species have been referred to under more than one name. As of 2014, The Plant List has determined that another 243,000 names are 'unresolved', meaning that botanists have so far been unable to determine whether they are a separate species or a duplication of the 350,699 unique species.
When The Plant List was launched in 2010 (the International Year of Biodiversity), it attracted media attention for its comprehensive approach. Fox News highlighted the number of synonyms encountered, suggesting that this reflected a "surprising lack" of biodiversity on earth." The Plant List also attracted attention for building on the work of English naturalist Charles Darwin, who in the 1880s started a plant list called the Index Kewensis (IK). Kew has added an average of 6,000 species every year since the IK was first published with 400,000 names of species. However, the IK (which by 1913 avoided making taxonomic judgement in its citations) is currently run as part of the IPNI rather than the Plant List.