Grassroots e-floras in the Poaceae: growing GrassBase and GrassWorld

PhytoKeys. 2015 Apr 15:(48):73-84. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.48.7159. eCollection 2015.


GrassBase and GrassWorld are the largest structured descriptive datasets in plants, publishing descriptions of 11,290 species in the DELTA format. Twenty nine years of data compilation and maintenance have created a dataset which now underpins much of the Poaceae bioinformatics. GrassBase and GrassWorld can continue to grow productively if the proliferation of alternative classifications and datasets can be brought together into a consensus system. If the datasets are reconciled instead of diverging further apart a long term cumulative process can bring knowledge together for great future utility. This paper presents the Poaceae as the first and largest model system for e-taxonomy and the study of classification development in plants. The origin, development, and content of both datasets is described and key contributors are noted. The challenges of alternative classifications, data divergence, collaborative contribution mechanisms, and software are outlined.

Keywords: Classification; DELTA; Scratchpads; e-taxonomy; grasses.

Publication types

  • Review