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World's Largest Inventory of Plant Species

Researchers at Leipzig University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) have compiled the world's most comprehensive list of known plant species. It contains 1,315,562 names of vascular plants, thus extending the number by some 70,000—equivalent to about 20%. The researchers have also succeeded in clarifying 181,000 hitherto unclear species names. The data set has now been published in Scientific Data. This marks the culmination of ten years of intensive research work.

Leipzig could mean for the future of plant taxonomy what Greenwich meant for world time until 1972: it could become the reference city for correct scientific plant names. In an outstanding feat of research, the curator of the Botanical Garden of Leipzig University, Dr. Martin Freiberg, and colleagues from iDiv and UL have compiled what is now the largest and most complete list of scientific names of all known plant species in the world. The Leipzig Catalog of Vascular Plants (LCVP) enormously updates and expands existing knowledge on the naming of plant species, and could replace The Plant List (TPL) - a catalog created by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London which until now has been the most important reference source for plant researchers.

"In my daily work at the Botanical Garden, I regularly come across species names that are not clear, where existing reference lists have gaps," said Freiberg. "This always means additional research, which keeps you from doing your actual work and above all limits the reliability of research findings. I wanted to eliminate this obstacle as well as possible."

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Monday, November 30, 2020