2. Project description

The moss flora of China, with over 2,500 species, is the richest and the most diverse in the Northern Temperate zone. Despite its size and diversity, there is little information about this flora available outside China. The Moss Flora of China (English version) will serve as a means of providing the basic information about the taxonomic account and distribution of all accepted Chinese mosses to the general scientific community.

The entire Flora will be published in eight printed volumes as well as in a Hypertext version on CD-ROM and on a variety of on-line computerized information services (World Wide Web and Gopher) within next 5-10 years. The Flora will include identification keys, familial, generic, and species descriptions, Chinese and Asiatic synonymy, illustrations, distribution maps, summaries of habitats, altitudinal ranges, provincial distribution and geographic ranges in countries bordering China, and remarks regarding the circumscription of problematic taxa.

The taxonomic treatments in this flora will be written by Chinese and non-Chinese bryologists who specialize in various moss families. The authors will base on extensive collections of Chinese mosses deposited in Chinese and western herbaria. This project will provide an opportunity for organizing and making accessible all the information on Chinese mosses, including the vast number of unmounted and unprocessed moss collections in Chinese herbaria.

The information on Chinese mosses will be continuously added to the Moss Flora of China database after this project itself has been completed. The database will be maintained at the Missouri Botanical Garden as a permanent resource and made available as hardcopy, CD-ROM or through other media, including Gopher and World Wide Web (WWW) servers at MO.