Plants of southern Africa: an online checklist

Plants of southern Africa: an online checklist

This website provides taxonomic information for southern African plants. You can search the data, view and download results, and see related information from PlantZAfrica and Floristic resources.

Searching the online checklist:

You can pick any combination of criteria on the search form. For example, to find Ericas found in the Eastern Cape you would type 'Erica' in the Genus search box and select 'EC: Eastern Cape' in the Distribution list. Clicking on the 'Search' button at the bottom of the form will give you the matching species.

Search results are listed in alphabetic order according to family, genus and species. You can change the sort order by clicking the sort buttons ( Sort ascending ) next to the Family and Species columns.

You can download your results in text ( Download as plain text ) or comma-delimited CSV ( Download as CSV ) format by clicking on a download button in the panel on the right.

Using taxonomic criteria:

On the search screen, you can 'drill-down' from plant family to individual species by selecting a family and allowing the genera to load automatically in the dropdown below. You can repeat this process by selecting a particular genus and allowing the species list to load.

If you do not know the family to which a particular genus belongs, you can simply enter a genus name or a part of its name (using the '*' as a wildcard) in the Genus search box. Clicking the 'Find genus' button will list the genera matching your entry. If only one genus matches then it will be automatically used to populate the Species drop-down and the Family. If more than one genus matches your entry, you will be prompted to pick from these options by the drop-down labelled '[Select genus]'. Note that at most 1000 matches will be listed.

Using distribution criteria:

You can review the list of provinces and countries below. Note that some species may be coded against old names for places, particularly if records are too vague to apply definitive current placenames.

You can also search by entering a quarter-degree grid cell, which applies to the actual PRECIS herbarium specimens collected for a species. Grid references comprise latitude (2 digits), longitude (2 digits) and 2 letters (each A-D) indicating the degree quadrant and the quarter degree quadrant respectively. Quadrants are labelled A-D clockwise from NW (A) to SW (D).

Using life history criteria:

You can select various life history criteria. Note that the data for some plants records has not been fully captured yet (in the results these missing entries are shown as '[?]').

Threat Status is based on the current (2010) assessment conducted by the Threatened Species Programme.

Endemism data is sourced from Germishuizen, G., Meyer, N.L., Steenkamp, Y. & Keith, M. (eds). 2006. A checklist of South African plants. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 41. SABONET, Pretoria. Species endemic to South Africa are indicated by the SA Endemic icon.

Selecting the format of the results:

You can select the amount of detail to be displayed in the search results by using the options ( ) under "Pick the type of results you would like to see". You can view a simple list of species names, a summary list which includes some life history and distributional details, or a full listing including synonyms and references for each species.

Checking the "Include synonymous taxa" option will include the old names of plants in the results listing, with references to their current names.

Examples of species information:

*: naturalised taxon (i.e. not indigenous)
Family: plant family
Species: species name and '=species in current use' if it is a synonym
Synonyms: synonyms and references
Life cycle: Annual, biennial or perennial.
Life form: Bryophyte, climber, dwarf shrub, epiphyte, geophyte, graminoid, herb, hydrophyte, lithophyte, parasite, scrambler, shrub, succulent, suffrutex or tree.
Height of plant: range in metres
Altitude where plants occur: range in metres
Distribution: Countries and RSA provinces abbreviated as follows:
B Botswana
CP Cape Province (old code)
EC Eastern Cape
FS Free State
FSA Southern Africa Flora
G Gauteng
KZN KwaZulu-Natal
L Lesotho
LIM Limpopo
M Mpumalanga
N Namibia
NC Northern Cape
NW Northwest
OFS Orange Free State (old code)
S Swaziland
SA South Africa
SNA Southern Africa
TVL Transvaal
WC Western Cape
Where current distribution records are unknown because of old herbarium collections with incomplete information, abbreviations of old province are given, for example Cape Province (‘CP’).

Links to other resources:

As of June 2009, the threat status of species are also included. These are listed according to IUCN criteria from SANBI's Threatened Species Programme's assessment of 2008.

Some results include the PZA icon ( PlantZAfrica ). Click it to see the entry for this plant in SANBI's PlantZAfrica infobase which contains the "Plant of the Week" webpages.

Some results include the Floristic icon ( Regional flora ). Click it to see the entry for this plant in SANBI's Regional Floristic infobase which contains published information on families, genera and species. You can also access this resource from the search page.

August 2009: POSA now offers links to SIBIS species pages and distribution maps. Click on the SIBIS button to see all the information that SANBI has for that species.

To report a bug please email the project team.
To provide feedback on the data please email the PRECIS data officer.

(c) SANBI 2005-9 POSA ver. 3.0 June 2009  (c) SANBI 2005-10. All rights reserved. Terms of use