BONAP NOTES and NEWS
- NEWS (March 27, 2015): Consistent with the taxonomy and phytogeography used for our 2014 TDC webpage, BONAP's North American Plant Atlas (NAPA) webpage has been revised to reflect these changes. A number of new and provocative maps have also been added to NAPA, showing compelling relationships between plant geography and special features such as latitude, longitude, elevation, soil types, temperature regimes, moisture regimes, etc. For motivated phytogeographers who enjoy studying floristic patterns, these maps are a treasure trove of invaluable and insightful data upon which new theoretical perspectives might evolve.
- NEWS (March 13, 2015): BONAP's Customized Geographic Database (CGD) is now complete. This web page enables individuals to build their own vascular plant database complete with photographs, plant characteristics, identification keys, distribution maps, etc. anywhere in North America. Gardeners who want to assess flowering season, flower color, plant duration, nativity, or to see photographs of plant species that grow in their own gardens can do so simply by clicking on the names of plants that grow there. College professors whose job it is to teach their students how to identify plants that grow in local fields or forests; or grade school and high school teachers who want to teach or inspire their kids to learn to identify local wildflowers and trees can do so simply by reducing the number of plants to just a few that grow locally.
Foresters, range managers, conservationists and other plant researchers employed by state or federal government agencies can build comprehensive species inventories for rare plants, aquatic or toxic plants, or other specialty plant groups that grow on their study site. Furthermore, the precise location of each study site can be plotted to within several feet to several miles (depending on what georeference scale is desired). Each database site can be fixed permanently on a Google map via a BUBBLE LOCATION. To maintain privacy and security of all sites, the BUBBLE LOCATIONS can be hidden or viewed publicly.
We are working with taxonomists around the globe to expand this capability and make it available to countries willing to participate.
- NEWS (March 12, 2015): To help locate all plant names, including synonyms and infraspecific taxa (varieties and subspecies), we have highlighted in yellow (top left of the TDC) the drop-down menu that provides the various options available.
- NEWS (February 16, 2015): BONAP is currently preparing a floristic field app, for smartphones, which when completed, will enable users to employ GPS functions to launch county-level maps for species found within any U.S. zip code location. An accompanying app is planned to assist with plant identifications, using random access processes.
- NEWS (January 8, 2015): After many months of preparation, BONAP has completed our Customized Geographic Database (CGD) for all U.S. Federal Government Lands. Many bubble locations have already been populated with vascular plant taxa known to grow there. We are very grateful to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for providing funding to help populate various National Wildlife Refuges in the Southwest Region. We are seeking public comments on our work. Here is listing of all of the National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) completed for the Southwest Region:
Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge, AZ
Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, ND
Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge, AZ
Little River National Wildlife Refuge, OK
Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge, OK
Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, OK
San Andres National Wildlife Refuge, NM
San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, AZ
Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, OK
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK
The following list includes other federal lands databases completed by BONAP and awaiting public comments. Our plan is to continue populating these properties as funding becomes available.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, NE
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Black Hills National Forest, SD
Blue Ridge Parkway, VA
Crater Lake National Park, OR
Denali National Park and Preserve, AK
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
Monongahela National Forest, WV
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Point Reyes National Seashore, CA
Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, AK
Wrangell - St Elias National Park and Preserve, AK
Yellowstone National Park, WY
- NEWS (November 17, 2014): BONAP is pleased to present the 2014 edition of our TDC and NAPA web pages. These pages represent reasonably complete, accurate and current assessments of the entire vascular flora of the North American continent, north of Mexico. Through the combined efforts of BONAP’S thousands of contributors and volunteers, we have produced a community-wide, free access product to serve the needs of the botanical community. With clear vision and common goals, the completion of this work demonstrates the ability of the scientific community to summarize, verify, and clarify a subject as vastly complex as the North American vascular flora. Although we make no assertions that every datum is accurate, we are pleased to bring our efforts to this stage of completion, and to make them publically available. We welcome any corrections or suggestions you might have.
The 2015 edition is currently underway and should be completed by the end of next year.
- NEWS (July 10, 2014): BONAP has updated our Facebook page, which now provides many supplemental maps and data to accompany our website. We encourage everyone to explore these very informative maps produced by one of our BONAP consultants, Mr. Gregory J. Schmidt.
- NEWS (March 15, 2014): BONAP has completed and submitted the 2014 edition of the National Wetland Plant List.
Continuing our work that began in the mid 1980's, with Mr. Buck Reed, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to develop and to maintain a classification system for the NWPL, we have produced what we believe to be the most current and most widely accepted classification system for all wetland plant taxa found in U.S. states and its territories. To ensure consistency, BONAP has assessed the spelling and application of each name, and validated the taxonomy and authorship used throughout the NWPL.
AUTHORSHIP OF THE NATIONAL WETLAND PLANT LIST: Although not included as a contributing author, BONAP developed virtually all aspects of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 NWPL,’s including all of the taxonomy and scientific nomenclature, provided more than 75,000 photographs, produced all common names and biological attribute data, generated all of the phytogeographic data; including all maps and occurrence data used to populate each U.S. state and county. And although BONAP did not contribute extensively to the wetland ratings, we did screen many of them for accuracy. Nonetheless, BONAP is grateful to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for providing the contract to BONAP for producing the various editions of the NWPL’s.
Based upon the large number of recent changes in both the taxonomy and phytogeography of wetland plants over the past few months, it is anticipated that a new edition of the NWPL will be necessary by mid-2015.
NOTE (July 22, 2013): Because of a restructuring of various data fields, the overall speed of the BONAP website has increased substantially, enabling searches and sorts to be performed more efficiently.
NEWS (July 17, 2013): A taxonomic toggle, enabling the application of either traditional or APG classification of the North American flora has been added to BONAP’s Taxonomic Data Center (TDC).
After many months of debate, and nearly a year of data transformation and programming, it's now possible to toggle the classification of your choice; either traditional (Engler and Prantl), or Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG). The APG option was requested by many individuals within our user community, who sought the application of the most current and most universally accepted molecular classification standard. However, equally requested from nurserymen, conservationists, and others within the botanical community, was retention of the traditional classification. They maintain that the monophyletic premise upon which APG taxonomy is predicated is untenable, unnecessary, and although potentially useful for some classifications, has its own limitations and uncertainties, many of which are discussed openly even among molecular researchers. Rather than siding with either group, at least for this edition of the TDC, I have capitulated to both sides by offering a classification option. This option applies not only to family/genus relationships of the website, but also to the family key, county and state-level phytogeographies, and to the biological attributes. Although BONAP has struggled mightily to produce this compromise, modifications and corrections will likely continue to appear within subsequent editions of the TDC. We welcome all points of view and corrections.
NEWS (July 7, 2013): BONAP provides maps for nearly 175,000 false reports of plant occurrences throughout North America.
To help reduce the perpetuation of errant phytogeographic reports of plant occurrences in North America at both US county and US state, or equivalent levels, BONAP has produced maps for every taxon known to have errant distributional reports. Many of these reports are antiquated, inaccurate, lack accompanying voucher documentation, and are therefore deemed untrustworthy. Some of these reports have resulted from misidentifications, others from misapplication of names, or mislabeling of herbarium sheets, while still others are based upon cultivated occurrences only, with a few based entirely upon fraudulent vouchers, intended to deliberately mislead floristitions and phytogeographers. Although impossible to include them all, we have provided maps of the most commonly recurring ones cited by USDA PLANTS in order to abate further perpetuation of these errors.
Every flora and florula produced historically in North America, including mine (!), contains distributional errors. Indeed, it is in part a mentally accepted concession reached by many of us who pursue floristics, and who understand fully that we deal with an imperfect subject, one based primarily upon observations, some of which we interpret correctly, others incorrectly. However, BONAP's goal in this enterprise is to establish a more perfect system by citing a single, reliable voucher for every known county-level, or equivalent occurrence. Currently, we have completed nearly 70% of the task, and although I may not be able to complete the task alone, others may recognize its benefit and continue the effort.
NEWS (July 1, 2013): BONAP provides a partial update of the TDC
Within this JULY 1, 2013 edition of the BONAP website, we have provided a partial data edit of the taxonomy and nomenclature. Too, we have added nearly 20,000 US county-level records that were undocumented previously. A more comprehensive edit of the entire website is scheduled later in 2013. That edition will include all taxonomic and nomenclatural changes through 2012, plus the addition of 30,000 or more county-level distributions.
NEWS (June 20, 2013): Two new documents are added to the TDC; first, taxa excluded from the flora of North America; second, names considered to be illegitimate or invalidly published.
List 1 - After decades of searching unsuccessfully for “bona fide” vouchers substantiating their occurrences in North America, we have excluded nearly 500 taxa for which we can find no convincing evidence of their presence here. The reports of many of these taxa were based upon misidentifications, errant application of names, and most commonly, cultivated records only. The name of each taxon (plus their commonly used synonyms) is provided in traditional family arrangement.
List 2 - Included within list 2 are names found throughout the North American literature that have not met the minimum requirements for validation of publication. All of these names are arranged by their traditional families.
- NEWS (April 11, 2013): BONAP’s Customized Geographic Database (CGD) is now fully functional and ready for use. Options for creating an account and signing in can be found atop the page.
- NEWS (April 5, 2013): BONAP adds 45,000 more photographs to its Image Gallery. Since early January, 2013, BONAP has been processing its back-logged collection of photographs for display on our website. The new additions will include images of many exotic taxa. We are grateful to many of our European, Australian, Asian and North American friends and colleagues who have provided these photographs. Their names are included within our photographic contributors section. Many additional photographs will be displayed later in 2013.
- NEWS (April 2, 2013): Thank you all for waiting! Today, BONAP launches its long awaited Databases. BONAP is proud to announce the launching of our new databases: Taxonomic Data Center (TDC) Page, Customized Geographic Database (CGD) Page and a comprehensive update of NAPA. The (TDC) assesses all 33,000 unique vascular plants taxa recorded for North America north of Mexico and provides the most current taxonomy, nomenclature and phytogeography. The Customized Geographic Database (CGD) Page enables individuals to build their own vascular plant databases anywhere in North America.
- NEWS (March 1, 2013): BONAP completes the 2013 update of the NWPL. On March 11, 2013, BONAP provided its annual update of the National Wetland Plant List to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and partnering agencies. The update from the 2009 data includes a total of ~100 new species and 370 taxonomic and nomenclatural modifications. The list will be published in Spring 2013.
- NEWS (October, 2010): BONAP has now completed its taxonomic and phytogeographic update of the National Wetland Plant List. BONAP, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Resource Conservation Service of the Department of Agriculture, has completed its update of the NWPL, published originally in 1988 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The update includes 1800 species newly listed wetland species and provides a comprehensive reassessment wetland rating for each species. BONAP will provide annual updates of the taxonomy and phytogeography.
- NEWS (October 2010): BONAP releases the first comprehensive update of its DRAFT web-based North American Plant Atlas (NAPA).* Although my intention was to provide this update of our North American Plant Atlas earlier in the year, the overwhelming number of new records precluded a more timely release. This updated DRAFT includes over 50,000 new county-level records, more than 50 new genera, and reports hundreds of new state-level occurrences. As with all of our data, virtually all of our nearly 5,000,000 county-level records are backed by both a vouchered specimen and a highly reliable bibliographic reference. Additionally, tens of thousands of historical county and state level records that were based largely upon false applications, misidentifications or antiquated taxonomic circumscriptions have been deleted for the website but will be maintained as false reports within BONAP's database. Numerous additional taxonomical modifications, especially within the Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Onagraceae, Verbenaceae, etc. will be made later this year, but will require more careful analyses prior to inclusion. These, along with an anticipated 100,000 additional county-level records will be posted early in 2011. BONAP will continue to provide both taxonomic and phytogeographic embellishments of these data within each of our anticipated semi-annual releases. ANY and ALL comments are welcomed. [JTK]
*To view the most recent update, please make sure to refresh the webpage.
- NEWS (October 2010): BONAP updates its plant rarity files. For nearly an entire year, BONAP, in concert with the various U.S. State and Canadian Heritage Programs across North America, has advanced all of our plant rarity files to reflect more accurately current rarity statuses for wild plants found within each U.S. state and Canadian province. All of these changes will be posted with our next release scheduled for the first quarter of 2011.
- Differences between BONAP and PLANTS Databases: To help answer the multitude of questions regarding differences between the BONAP and PLANTS Database, I have provided the following summary.
Over a period of approximately 15 years, from the late 1980’s to 2004, BONAP provided virtually all of the floristic data for the U.S.D.A. NRCS PLANTS Database, including all of the nomenclature, phytogeography, plus nearly all of the botanical attribute data (e.g., habit, duration, nativity and common names, etc.). The last significant revision of the BONAP data included within PLANTS Database was made in 2004. Since then, there have been virtually no updates of the taxonomy, nor U.S. state or U.S. county-level data on the PLANTS Database website. In fact, over the past year or more, there has been virtually no activity on the PLANTS Database by NRCS personnel.
By continuing to work with hundreds of taxonomists, agriculturists, state conservationalists, including botanists from the various State Heritage Programs and other researchers throughout North America, BONAP plans to provide comprehensive updates of these data semi-annually. Rather than follow a single scheme of classification, or a specific reference for the North American flora (e.g., FNA); our taxonomy will occasionally represent different concepts and incorporate taxonomic views that we feel represent more recent monographic revisions or floristic research or in some cases more widely accepted views. Nonetheless, contrary points of view will always be considered and welcomed.
- NEWS (January 2010): BONAP releases its web-based, North American Plant Atlas. BONAP’s web version of the U.S. County-Level Atlas has been developed for the contiguous forty-eight U.S. states. Although our voucher documentations of the 4.5 million U.S. county occurrences are not shown here, they will be included within the release of Floristic Synthesis scheduled later this year. Plant species restricted to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Greenland, St. Pierre and Miquelon are shown at the state or equivalent only and are illustrated via unique state-level based maps (e.g., Abelmoschus moschatus). We have also chosen not to include our Caribbean Island distribution records of Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, since those too will be included within the Floristic Synthesis. Plant species maps for which county-level occurrence records appear to be lacking result from their county occurrences being too few or the individual counties too small to be visible on the maps provided. Too, in some cases the county-level locations are currently unknown to us. All of these records will be viewable with the zooming capability provided within the Floristic Synthesis. Also, rarity fields shown in yellow, red or orange, must be considered DRAFT, since we are currently updating these fields. To access the map-display most rapidly, we suggest using Google Chrome or Internet Explorer as your browser. All of these maps, plus 100,000 additional digital plant images of the North American flora will be provided later this year on our North American Digital Flora.
- NEWS (February 2010): BONAP, in collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers, launches its revolutionary new Floristic Gazetteer. Never before in any country, domestic or foreign, has it been possible to select random locations on the landscape and produce comprehensive plant species lists for that area. With this most recent jointly developed release, which merges Google graphics into BONAP's phytogeography, it is now possible to produce extremely comprehensive summaries of plants for any geographic location in North America!!!.
Lists of plants can now be produced easily, accurately and comprehensively for any geographic area from private farms or private woodlots, to small towns or large cities; from National Parks, and National Seashores to U.S. states and Canadian provinces. Even for home-sites with personal mailing address or for local school grounds, or for areas with specific longitude and latitude coordinates, lists of plants can be generated with ease and precision. In order to achieve this accomplishment, BONAP incorporated tens of thousands of plant lists from small florulas throughout North America into larger floristic units, then linked these data with U.S. postal zip codes, and then to FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) codes, then to longitude and latitude coordinates, and finally to all of the North American place names on Google map. By using Google map as our search engine, we were able to produce the Floristic Gazetteer. Moreover, by using expanding concentric quadrangles, we were then able to expand the floristic coverage of any location outward by 10 - 20 or more miles, thus increasing the number of potential species found within adjacent locations. To facilitate the entire process, an embedded spell-checker was used to correct automatically typographical errors of locations without altering results. Although the system currently treats only members of National Wetland Flora (approximately half of the North American flora), we plan to include the entire North American flora later this year. The Floristic Gazetteer can be found within the Geographic Query window (Place Name or Zip code under Select Geo Type) on our North American Digital Flora.
The potential for this release is limitless. Consider for example, the inclusion of an interactive key that collapses to adjust for only those species found within a specific area. This process would facilitate greatly the task of identifying unknown member of the local flora. It would certainly ease the effort of keying by reducing the number of species found within any location. In testing the accuracy of the Floristic Gazetteer, we found that even in poorly collected areas, species diversity tallies can be made surprisingly complete by using the concentric quadrangle to expand the search into adjacent locations.
- NEWS (February 2010): BONAP initiates the building of our interactive web-based key for the North American flora. As an adjunct to the Floristic Gazetteer, BONAP is building a web-based interactive key that will link plant morphology, plant ecology, plus hundreds of additional characters and charactennnr states of the North American flora with our locality data. Incorporated into this key will be BONAP's vast photographic gallery. With each selection of the key, the number of species and their linked images will reduce concurrently. One could then simply compare the remaining images with the unknown plant being keyed. Our goal is to produce keys so efficient that even a caveman can use them!
- NEWS (February 2010): BONAP/Army Corps of Engineers releases its Custom Plant List capability. Perhaps equally interesting to some is the initiation of BONAP/Army Corps of Engineers Custom Plant Lists. With this feature, it will be possible to prepare species-list of National parks, National Seashores, U.S. military bases, National Forests or even vacant city lots. Our plan is to enable users to post their own custom plant list on our website so that only those plants (not plants of the surrounding flora) will be linked automatically to our website. By entering the species list file into the website, the data will be linked to the identification key, image gallery, etc. As an example of what can be done, we have entered a plant list for Eagle Hill, a well-known biological field station in eastern Maine. The Custom Plant Lists capability can be found within the Geographic Query window (Custom Plant List under Select Geo Type) on our North American Digital Flora. We plan to add additional custom plant lists for various locations very soon.
- NEWS (January 2010): BONAP posts its classification structure for all North American family/genus relationships in Phylogenetic, Traditional and Modern listings.
You may see a security warning when you attempt to open the National Wetland Plant List or the North American Digital Flora. There is no security risk from the site. The warning pertains to the fact that it is a secure website for entering personal information; however, the security of the connection cannot be confirmed by your browser. Since personal information is not being asked by the site, the message is irrelevant. Please just accept certification and the website will launch.
Last updated March 27, 2015.