Plant Diversity ›› 2012, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (6): 532-538.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1143.2012.12144

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The Development of Classical Plant Taxonomy and iFlora

 FANG  Wei, LIU  En-De   

  1. Key Laboratory of Biodiverstiy and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy
    of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, China
  • Received:2012-11-05 Online:2012-12-25 Published:2012-11-09


The paper briefly introduces four basic parts in classical plant taxonomy: identification, description, nomenclature and classification. First, identification: Interactive identification (like deltaintkey) is one mean of morphological identification; pattern recognition could be applied to photographic identification; the core of species identification is the molecular identification which reveals the hereditary essence of species. Second, description: DELTA System or analogous systems whose language is aligned with logical computer will be the basic language of the nextgeneration Flora (iFlora). Third, nomenclature: the last 20 years have witenessed some challenges and the desire for change of the ICBN (International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, which is now the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants). Two typical examples are the Draft BioCode and PhyloCode. The attempts will promote the change of nomenclatural rules, which likely to be reflected in iFlora. Fourth, classification: the molecular phylogenetic systems, represented by the APG System (progressing through APGI, II, and III), is becoming the dominant system of plant classification. However, at the species level, the genetic information cannot stand alone for the definition of a species. We need access to comprehensive information of characters, which will also promote the uniting of morphological traits, genetic traits, distribution data and other information. Familiarization with and mastering of these new techniques and ideas are essential. Undoubtedly, this integration will provide an important reference point for the design and compilation of the iFlora. In the coming decade, iFlora will be the embodiment of the achievements of modern plant taxonomy.

Key words: Classical taxonomy, Description, Identification, Nomenclature, Systematics, iFlora

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