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World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP)

Make a Contribution

We would appreciate any comments, corrections, additions or deletions that you might suggest with regard to taxonomy, nomenclature and synonyms for the taxa in your field of expertise.

To make the exchange of data flow as smoothly as possible and avoid waste of time and energy on both sides, we strongly suggest you carefully read the following pages, which mostly stem from past experiences.

R. Govaerts
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Kew, Richmond

Tel.: +44 (0)20 8332 5274
Fax: +44 (0)20 8332 5278

1) General remarks

  • Please check carefully that your "corrections" are truly corrections. An important problem are missing and incomplete distributions. Please check carefully. Also when lumping and especially splitting taxa, remember to indicate the new distributions.
  • The main contribution is improving the taxonomy. Putting accepted species in synonymy, resurrecting synonyms and sorting out unplaced names.
  • The printout you receive is at least one year out of date and often more. However, the database is kept up-to-date so these recent data will be included in the final product. (especially new species)
  • We are somewhat reluctant to include unpublished data, mainly to prevent taking the credit away from others. If, however, you feel the data will otherwise never be published or will certainly be published before ours, we will be happy to include it.
  • Please only make corrections on paper. If the data is sent to you in electronic form, then please print out the pages you wish to correct and send them in that format. Some people prefer to make lists of corrections. Those are fine, but please do not use the page numbers on your copy as the data is of course in a database and every printout is different.
  • When making a correction which you know might be open for discussion or that goes against the standards we use, a few words to defend your opinion or a reference that would shed light on the case would be very much appreciated.
  • If you get the impression that there is an important work we seem to have overlooked, please mention this and we will make all the corrections ourselves. This might save you time writing them all down yourself.
  • Remember that the data is in a database so it is often enough to correct something once (and perhaps add, "check others"). We will then automatically change the lot.

2) Names and place of publication.

  • Orthographic corrections are always very welcome. May I stress once again to carefully check your correction.
  • Places of publication may sometimes be completely wrong (mainly due to errors that stem from when Index Kewensis was scanned into electric form). We try and check these as far as possible but sometimes a group of errors remains. You may also sometimes know of an earlier place of publication, which information is very welcome. If, however, we give a place of publication you do not agree with (e.g. insufficient description) or you know there may be different views, a few words of defence would be useful.
  • Page numbers are sometimes one out in Index Kewensis (we cite the page on which the first letter of the name of the taxon is present) or sometimes they make no sense at all. All checked corrections are very welcome.
  • The date of publication is a very difficult subject. For books we follow the dates given in TL/2. All the dates in the database should already have been checked and altered according to TL/2. If you suggest a different date, then please give a few words of defence or a reference to more recently published dates for that book.

3) Authors.

  • The in/ex question will probably always remain problematic. In principal, for new taxa, the author is the person(s) who wrote the diagnosis. So even though De Candolle received A. Richard's manuscript on Rubiaceae and uses the names he proposed, the diagnoses were not explicitly taken over from him it should then be A.Rich ex DC.
  • The authors of books are part of the bibliographic reference and therefore written in full (with a maximum of three initials). Problems start with authors of long running series. In the case of modern floras, we do not normally cite editors and just use "in" followed by the abbreviated flora. E.g. " in Fl. Trop. E. Africa" (a list of such Flora's is in preparation). For older works, we have often taken the pragmatic view of citing the editor of the first published part followed by " & auct.suc. (eds.)". This is in the first place so one can easily find the publication in TL/2 and it is also not always very clear who edited what exactly. So please don't change all these author citations as some have done in the past. Of course if you do not agree with any of our citations, then please let us know your view.

4) Distribution.

  • We would especially like you to have a closer look at those taxa that have as their TDWG code a "+" or "?". Those are taxa of which we could find insufficient information and were you might be able to help add a TDWG code (second edition).
  • Any addition or removal to the distribution is very welcome. Most problems occur in widespread species and those occurring in Mexico or Brazil.
  • Again, we have to stress to please carefully check any alterations you might make. Remember that it may be that you have always known a species to occur in both Tanzania and Malawi. If we would only list Tanzania, your automatic reaction might be to add "MLW". However, the population in Malawi might recently have been accepted as a different species. The listing for a country may also be an error, country borders may have changes (e.g. Eritrea and Ethiopia) or many other reasons may cause us to have a different distribution.
  • As mentioned before, when lumping or splitting, please adapt the distribution accordingly or at least give a reference to were we can find the data. Just mentioning that a certain variety should be accepted is meaningless.

5) Lifeform.

  • If the lifeform is not indicated, please add them if you can. You can use your own wording, which we will then standardise. However terms like the much-used "herb" is meaningless since we need to know if it is annual, biannual or perennial.
  • The system we use is based on the position of the growth bud. So if the plant is herbaceous, woody, single or multistemmed is of little importance.
  • We use the terms "tuber" in a wide sense. It can be any swollen subterranean organ that is not a bulb or a rhizome. In my experience, apart from annuals, every lifeform may be tuberous.
  • Different views are of course always welcome.