Floras needed!

Michael W at
Wed Jan 15 18:35:14 CST 2003

Dear Colleague,

I would like to solicit your help with a project on the floristics of 
North America.  I know that many of you are already aware of this project 
(which has been going on for almost a decade!), and have helped out a 
great deal. 

My collaborators (Peter Earls , Mark Withers, Paul Neal, Peter White, and 
Gary Wade) and I are attempting to assemble a bibliography of vascular 
floras written for regions (of any spatial scale) within North America 
(north of Mexico). 'Vascular flora' has been defined in many ways.  We 
define it as "A list of the vascular plant species documented to occur in 
a defined area, which is intended to be representative of the area". Thus, 
it includes what some consider 'florulae' or 'inventories', but excludes 
(among other things) wildflower lists, tree lists, rare plant lists, 
spring floras, computer printouts, lists from a collection trip or field 
trip, etc.

We hope that this bibliography will eventually be of use to botanists.  To 
some degree, we hope that it will help rescue good works from obscurity! 
But our primary goal is a quantitative analysis of the floras.  We suspect 
it will yield insights into patterns of biodiversity throughout North 
America.  For more details about our project, including preliminary 
analyses, please see:

This website (a converted Powerpoint presentation) is best viewed using 
internet explorer.

So far, we have assembled over 7500 references, many of which are not 
'true' floras. 
A large number of these references are ones we have not yet seen a copy 
of.  Many floristic works (e.g. theses, articles in short-lived or 
otherwise obscure journals, privately published lists, state government 
reports) exist in very few copies and are thus not easy (or not possible) 
to obtain through interlibrary services. 

Furthermore, we are sure that there are hundreds of floras we are not yet 
aware of.  Because floras are often too obscure to be indexed by 
electronic databases, and because their titles do not always include key 
terms that alert the reader to the presence of a species list (for 
example, a 'true' flora may be contained in a thesis describing vegetation 
structure), 'word of mouth' is one of our most effective ways to learn of 
the existence of floras.

If you have access to obscure floras, I would really like to hear from 
you.  I am eager to receive photocopies, electronic versions, or loans of 
floras.  I am also eager to learn of the existence of floras new to the 
database, even without access to the source.  I can supply you with a list 
of the works I know about in your state or province ? as well as a list of 
the ones I do not yet have. 

I recognize that a number of the frequent posters to TAXACOM are also 
prolific authors of floras!  Reprints of current or past work, electronic 
or paper, are always welcome.  I would be happy to let you know whether I 
already have a copy.

Unfortunately, we do not have financial resources to reimburse for copying 
and shipping.  Our project is currently unfunded.  However, I hope the 
bibliography of floristic works in your state or province (though 
currently in need of editing) offered in exchange would be of some value 
to you.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the Floras 
Project, or if you would like some clarification about what constitutes a 


Mike Palmer

Michael W. Palmer
Botany Dept. OSU
104 LSE   Stillwater OK 74078 USA
405-744-7717  fax:405-744-7074
carex at okstate.edu

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