How to use


There are two options when searching for a taxon: (1) navigate the taxon tree, or (2) type the name of the taxon in the search field (recommended when searching for a possible synonym).

The asterisk (*) can be used as a wildcard in the search field.


Query “Rhipsalis” will find all names in Rhipsalis

Query “Rhipsalis b*” will find all names in Rhipsalis beginning with b

Query “Rhipsalis baccifera” will find all names containing this term, including the subspecies.

Using the “Advanced search”, you can restrict your search to certain types of names (e.g. accepted names only), or to a geographical region.

In the search results list, the names of accepted taxa are displayed in blue. All other names displayed in grey are synonyms. Clicking on them leads you to the page of the accepted taxon.


Taxon pages


Genus page

The genus page provides the accepted genus name and its synonyms. Discussion notes provide information about the current state of knowledge in terms of monophyly or phylogenetic relationships of the genus.

Taxon page

The taxon page provides the accepted name and its synonyms. For some names, types and protologue links are already provided as well. Further information is so far only included for a few species.

Distribution data are so far available only for a few species. They are given following the TDWG standard ( and are listed according to country and displayed in a zoomable map, using TDWG areas as mapping units. The status of occurrence is displayed using different colours as indicated.

The Specimens tab displays revised specimens and derivatives of them, e.g. molecular data.

The Keys tab of a taxon provides dichotomous or other identification keys for the included taxa as far as available.



Accepted taxa

Currently, only taxa at the genus, species and subspecies ranks are included; taxa at additional ranks can be included in the future.


In the case of accepted subspecies, homotypic synonyms of the species are attributed either to the species name or the nominal subspecies, depending on the original source for the assignment of the particular synonym.

Heterotypic synonyms which cannot be assigned undoubtedly to one of the subspecies are placed within the synonymy of the species.


Invalid designations

Names which have not been validly published are listed at the end of the synonymies and are preceded by an n-dash instead of an equal sign.


Spelling of scientific plant names

The spelling of a given species epithet within a homotypical group is generally standardized and typographical and orthographical errors are corrected following Art. 60 of the Code. Original spellings, misspellings and orthographic variants are only given along with the correct spelling if the names have been used in this incorrect spelling, e.g. and were part of the original World Flora Online backbone.

Other errors (e.g. printing errors) and frequently used incorrect spellings can also be explained in comments accompanying the respective name.


Authors of scientific plant names

Authors of scientific plant names are abbreviated in conformity with Brummitt R. K. & Powell C. E. 1992: Authors of plant names (updated online version).

If the authors of the name are different from the authors of the work in which the name was published, the latter are part of the bibliographic citation and are not abbreviated.

'Ex' authors” are included.


Nomenclatural types of names

Data on types and their citation are gathered from different sources, depending on data availability and processing state: (1) from the protologues, (2) from secondary literature, (3) from the type specimen labels. Type citation is therefore heterogenous.

Types are classified as holo-, syn-, neo-, lectotypes, etc., and their duplicates as iso-, isosyn-, isoneo- or isolectotypes, etc. When no such specification is possible yet, they are simply indicated as "type".

Herbarium codes follow Index Herbariorum.


Bibliographic citation of taxon names

Titles of monographs are separated from the author citation by a comma and are abbreviated in conformity with Taxonomic literature, ed. 2 (Stafleu & Cowan 1976–1988; Stafleu & Mennega 1992–2000; Dorr & Nicolson 2008, 2009), but all components start with capital letters. Titles of monographs not listed therein follow the version used in IPNI, with the exception that work's editor is not included in the title. Titles not mentioned in any of these sources are abbreviated as in serials.

Titles of serials are separated from the author citation by "in" and are abbreviated in conformity with Botanico-periodicum-huntianum (Bridson & al. 2004, online edition); titles not listed there are abbreviated according to the standards therein defined.

The publication year always refers to the actual year of publication of the page cited. If a work has been published in parts and its publication dates have been established, the publication year is one of the corresponding parts and can then differ from the year(s) on the (main) title page of that work. In the case of known differences between the year given in print and the real publication date, the former is set in quotation marks and the correct value in square brackets.

Series that form part of the title are normally included in the standard abbreviation for nomenclatural citations.


Secundum references

The circumscription of a taxon is always indicated by means of a “sec.-” or “secundum-” (= “according to”) reference, a bibliographic reference that clarifies the distinction of this taxon from other taxa.

In analogy to, the “syn. sec.” reference depicts the placement of a name in the synonymy of a taxon.

However, in the present state of our data, the sec. reference in some cases represents the source of a name (particularly when the taxonomic position of that name is not yet clear), or the reference for the placement (especially if the placement resulted in a changed name), or even the reference for the source of a name or taxon under one of the categories excluded from the core checklist. Currently the data entry does not yet support multiple sec. references, so the responsible editor must choose one over others that may be equally relevant.


Taxon standing categories

from Korotkova et al. (2021) 

A       The genus is monophyletic or, if monotypic, highly supported as a separate lineage based on a complete or very comprehensive phylogenetic study. A phylogeny-based taxonomic synopsis was published, usually together with the phylogenetic study or in a follow-up taxonomic paper by the same authors.

      The genus is monophyletic based on phylogenetic studies that support the clade based on a sufficiently dense or even complete sampling, or support a monotypic genus as a distinct lineage, but do not provide a new taxonomic treatment at the species level. In many cases, older classical taxonomic synopses or a monographic treatment exist for these genera providing a reliable assessment of the species included.

      The genus is probably monophyletic, but only some of the species were sampled in phylogenetic studies, too few to reliably establish its monophyly.

D       The genus is polyphyletic, paraphyletic or nested in another genus.

      No assessment of monophyly has yet been possible, because only a few species were sampled or no phylogenetic study has been conducted so far.