Flowering plant list pruned from 1 million to 400,000

It was known that many plants have more than one name, especially flowering species. Now Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden have helped prune out many duplicates reducing our list of known flowering plants by almost half.

Botanists around the world have been collecting, naming, and classifying plants for centuries, and as a result many plants have inadvertently been named several times, giving rise to a list of over one million flowering plant species. Some plants were given different names because of slight differences when grown in different climates, while others were named by scientists unaware the plant had already been described and named.

Scientists have known for a long time that the databases contained many duplicates, but until now no one has been certain of how many because the information has been contained in several databases around the world. Now, for the first time, a single working list of all flowering plant species has been created, and it has been made possible by an automated rule-based system. read more

Databases:
Integrated Taxonomic Information System
USDA Plants