12.1 Descriptions and keys to all taxa should be based on actual Chinese specimens examined. They should not be taken from the literature unless the structure concerned is not available in Chinese material. Under this circumstance the description of the missing structure in the Flora may be based on non-Chinese material or quoted from other sources. When discrepancies between Chinese specimens and reports from literature occur, the observation should be mentioned in a brief discussion after the concerned taxon.
12.2 Descriptions of family, genus and species should be as concise as possible, but they must include all essential characters. Remember, taxonomic treatments in this Flora should not be monographic in extent. A key diagnostic description at any generic or specific rank must be parallel for all taxa at the same rank (i.e., an attribute mentioned for one species, like papillae of leaf cells, should be discussed for all other species within the same genus). Efforts should be made to avoid contradictions in characters used in the descriptions and in the keys.
12.3 If a species has more than one infraspecific taxon in China, there will be a full description of the species followed by diagnostic statements of each infraspecific taxon. If the infraspecific taxon of a species occurring in China is not the autonym, there will be no description under the species, but a full description will be provided under the infraspecific taxon. Any species that has yet been found from China, but has a possibility of occurring in the country based on assumption, e.g., through a phytogeographic analysis, can be mentioned in the discussion without a full description.
12.4 Descriptions at any taxonomic rank will follow a conventional order from gross morphology to cellular details. The format should be kept consistent throughout the manuscripts (i.e., plant habit, stems, leaves, costae, leaf cells, sexuality, perigonia, perichaetia, asexual propagules, setae, capsules, peristome, opercula, spores, and calyptrae). Each major part of a description will be separated by a period into sentences, with semicolons used to separate subparts within the sentence. The following are the suggested characters of mosses, and their order to be described:
12.5 Bryological terminology will follow Glossarium Polyglottum Bryologiae (ed. R. Magill, 1990; Missouri Botanical Garden publication).