Plants of the World Online is online

by Luigi Guarino on April 4, 2017

Great to see the launch of Kew’s Plants of the World Online portal.

In 2015, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew launched its first Science Strategy establishing its vision to document and understand global plant and fungal diversity and their uses, bringing authoritative expertise to bear on the critical challenges facing humanity today. The Science Strategy also committed Kew to delivering nine strategic outputs with the overarching aim to disseminate Kew’s scientific knowledge of plants and fungi to maximize its impact in science, education, conservation policy and management. The Plants of the World Online portal (POWO), is one of the nine strategic outputs and its aim is to enable users to access information on all the world’s known seed-bearing plants by 2020…

…Ultimately, POWO will become a single point of access for authoritative plant species information, a multi-dimensional catalogue of plant life, including information on identification, distribution, traits, conservation, molecular phylogenies and uses. The codebase is open source and Kew hopes to support existing partner networks to set up their own portals, creating a distributed network of botanical data hubs. POWO aims to become a resource that has global coverage which can empower and inform citizens, policy makers, conservationists and farmers everywhere, about the importance of plants and fungi to life. In addition, a key function of POWO is to ensure that Kew’s floristic data can be harvested and ingested by the World Flora Online (WFO) portal enabling Kew to support the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) Target 1 2020.

And speaking of harvesting and ingesting, it even has crops! As it develops, I do hope it will include links to genebank and botanical garden collections.

Oh, and since I’m on Kew, don’t forget this year’s State of the World’s Plants Symposium is coming up. Last year there was a section on crop wild relatives. Nothing so agricultural on this occasion, but lots of interesting topics nevertheless.

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