World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP)

Frequently Asked Questions

When searching the checklist and looking for a species, type in the genus, then find the species. Typing in the family is not normally necessary.

The number of species in each family can be found on the family page.

To count the number of species in genera, use the Build a checklist option. Do the appropriate search and the number of species will be displayed after each genus entry.

First of all, check your spelling. Spelling mistakes are a major cause of unsuccessful searches. Try searching with less data. e.g. only search Genus in the first instance and select the species at the second stage. Some of the species in synonymous genera or very recently published species may still be missing but will be included soon. Not all infraspecific taxa are included; no attempt has been made to be complete. If you know about an additional one, please let us know (under Make a contribution) and we will include it.

YES! All the names have been taxonomically assessed and the data standardized. Different opinions are expressed though a preferred option is presented. The ultimate responsibility for accepting taxa lies with the user.

Use the "Build a checklist" option to generate a complete list. Choose the family you require from the dropdown list, Then select from the genus list the first option which start with "All Genera A-." and click "create checklist". For e.g. "All Genera A-C", only copy the genera starting with A-C from the list when putting them together to avoid duplication of genera D-Z. Do this for all the "All Genera .-." lists you create and cut and paste.

To make a checklist of a particular family or genus for a particular region or country, please use the "Build a checklist" option. Select a family (then genus if required) or any of the geographical areas. then click "create checklist" on the bottom. If you want to include more than one region or country, hold the Ctrl key while selecting the areas on the dropdown list. It is also possible to select different checklist formats by clicking on the dots in front of the format options near the bottom.

Reference can be made to the selections of literature given here or to standard works such as Families and genera of vascular plants edited by K. Kubitzki (1990- , Berlin: Springer), Families of flowering plants edited by V. H. Heywood (1978, Oxford: Oxford University Press, with subsequent reissues), An integrated system of classification of flowering plants by A. Cronquist (1981, New York: Columbia University Press), or Diversity and classification of flowering plants by A. L. Takhtajan (1997, New York: Columbia University Press).

Major projects such as the World Checklist take many years to complete. Work is continuing and additional families will be accounted for as time and opportunities permit. If you are interested in contributing, go to the next question. Otherwise, as a start you can go to standard published compendia such as those listed under the previous question or, for very selected data and references, The Plant-book, third edition by D. J. Mabberley (2nd edn., 2008, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

We would be very interested in outside contributions. Different experts are currently doing some families. Please see Make a contribution if you would like to contribute to the project.

If you spot any mistakes, you can make a one-off contribution. We would be interested in anything you might consider. As far as possible, the data is kept up-to-date.