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The World Flora Online (WFO) project was initiated in 2012 in response to Target 1 of the CBD Global Strategy for Plant Conservation – "To create an online flora of all known plants by 2020". A WFO Consortium has been formed of now 48 international partners to face this huge challenge. The World Flora Online Public Portal ( was launched at the International Botanical Congress in Shenzhen, China in July, 2017. The portal links taxon information to a managed name list or taxonomic backbone, the WFO Plant List. The latter was initially populated with The Plant List, Version 1.1, now inactive, and is being improved with newer taxonomic data sources like APG4, PPG, Solanaceae Source, World Checklist of Vascular Plants and others, with additional updates from newly created Taxonomic Expert Networks (TENs). To date, 38 TENs have been formed with many more in process of creatuion. Each item of the WFO Plant List is linked to the IPNI equivalent using the UUIDs in both datasets, and will serve as a source for the Catalogue of Life plant data, feeding into GBIF, IUCN, etc. The World Flora Online aims to include descriptive information for every plant species gathered from digital floras and monographs, and other sources, with clear reference to the origin. Such information can be text descriptions, images, geographic distributions, identification keys, phylogenetic trees, as well as atomized trait data like threat status, lifeform or habitat. It can come in any language. Digital descriptive datasets have been incorporated from Floras of West, Central and East Tropical Africa, Flora Zambesiaca, South Africa, China, North America, Mesoamerica, Brazil and many others. Over 500,000 descriptions are now online for over 120,000 species and growing. Data tools have been created to accomplish the data cleaning, standardization and transformation required to integrate descriptive data from these sources.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationXXIIth AETFAT Conference: Diversity and Conservation of African Plants: Challenges and Opportunities
Publication date27-Jun-2022
Publication statusPublished - 27-Jun-2022
EventXXIIth AETFAT Conference: Diversity and Conservation of African Plants: Challenges and Opportunities - AVANI Victoria Falls Resort, Livingstone, Zambia
Duration: 23-Mar-202027-Mar-2020
Conference number: 22

    Research areas

  • B290-systematic-botany - Flora, bioinformatics
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