Plant Diversity ›› 2017, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (06): 357-364.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2017.12.001

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Ex situ Flora of China

Hongwen Huang, Jingping Liao, Zheng Zhang, Qingqing Zhan   

  1. South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, International Association of Botanic Gardens, China
  • Received:2017-09-23 Revised:2017-12-01 Online:2017-12-25 Published:2021-11-05
  • Contact: Hongwen Huang
  • Supported by:
    The work is supported in part by China National Science and Technology Infrastructure Program 2015FY210100.

Abstract: The role of living collections-based research and discovery has been a prominent feature throughout the history of evolution and advance of botanical science:such research is the core and soul of the botanical gardens. Currently, there are c. 162 Chinese botanical gardens, harboring c. 20,000 species in China. As an example of initiatives to utilize the garden cultivated flora to address plant diversity conservation and germplasm discovery for sustainable agriculture and the bio-industries, the Ex situ Flora of China project aims to catalog and document this mega-diversity of plants that are cultivated in the Chinese botanical gardens. The concept of Ex situ Flora of China is a complete new formulation of species, based on garden cultivated individuals and populations, to obtain better morphological descriptions, provide multipurpose applicability and a fundamental data service that will support national bio-strategies and bioindustries. It emphasises integrative information, accurately collected from living collections across different Chinese botanical gardens, on biology, phenology, cultivation requirements and uses of plant resources, which are normally not available from traditional Floras based on herbarium specimens. The ex situ flora should provide better information coverage for taxonomy, biological and introduction and collection data and color photos of stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seed, as well as useful information of cultivation key points and main use of each plant. In general, the Ex situ Flora of China provides more useful information than the traditional Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae. The project of Ex situ Flora of China is planned to be one of the most important initiatives of the plant diversity research platform for sustainable economic and social development in China.

Key words: Botanical garden, Living collections, Ex situ conservation, Botanical sciences, Cultivated flora