The Moss Flora of China (English version) is an international, collaborative program organized by the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The aim of this project is to publish the first modern floristic treatment of all mosses of China within the next 5-10 years. The project is planning to publish eight printed books and to develop a comprehensive, flexible, retrievable database dealing with basic, authoritative, and up-to-date information on the names, relationships, characteristics, and geographical distributions of approximately 2,500 species of mosses that grow in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Bryologists specializing in various moss families from North America, Europe, Russia, and Japan will contribute accounts to this Flora, making this project a truly international effort.

Because it will take at least five years before the entire project is completed, the primary task of this project is to make available via WWW and Gopher servers the large data sets of basic information on floristic accounts of the mosses of China. This information is being made available in an easily retrievable form that can be accessed by users worldwide. Currently, the scientific names of Chinese mosses, the pertinent literature, and geographical distribution inside China are presented here as a checklist. This preliminary checklist captures all names that have been attributed to China in the literature, including names now in synonymy. The final version of the checklist will provide a computerized synopsis of all accepted species and recognized infraspecific taxa. The information includes: the place of publication, the volume location from both Chinese and English version, other relevant bibliographic sources, the provincial distribution, altitudinal ranges, and the occurrence of non-endemic taxa in neighboring countries as well as in regions outside Asia.

In addition, the Guidelines for Contributors, including a sample treatment of the family Grimmiaceae (in part) and a format for species data accumulation have also been made available on-line in this home page. As the project proceeds, the information, including a continuously up-dated checklist, family manuscripts at various stages of revision, illustrations, geographical distribution and specimen-based data, will be accumulated and made available as a Hypertext version on the WWW server.

A typical family manuscript will include the following data: the identification keys, familial, generic, and species descriptions, Chinese and Asiatic synonymy, habitats, altitudinal ranges and provincial distribution within China, the distribution in neighboring countries, and remarks regarding the circumscription of problematic taxa.

The project is considering to put several revised manuscripts and other newly prepared family and generic treatments on-line for discussion and suggestion before they are formally published in the printed volumes. The draft manuscripts on the Internet should not be considered final and they are provided herein for perusal online only. The content and results from these draft manuscripts should not be cited until the corresponding volume is published. Copies of draft manuscripts may only be circulated with limitation. The family manuscripts on the Internet will continuously be edited for changes and additions, and the newly revised ones will replace the earlier versions.

The printed books of the Moss Flora of China (English version) do not contain illustrations for every species, but the project plans to provide illustrations for all species treated in the electronic version. Whenever possible, the project will share images with other floristic and monographic projects. Only those illustrations for which the permission for electronic reproduction has been obtained by the project, will be added to the Flora, and the original sources will be credited. The main sources of such illustrations will come from the published revisions and the Bryoflora of China (Chinese version). All illustrations will bear the updated nomenclature and have the scale bars added. Currently, no illustrations from this project have been made available on- line. Illustrations will be placed on the Internet through the WWW server (MO) as soon as the condition and funding permit.

Specimen data is one of the most important sources for any floristic project. Because of space limitations, the printed flora will limit representative specimen citations to a maximum of one or two collections per province in an abbreviated format. No such limitations will apply to the electronic version, which can include an unlimited number of citations. The project encourages the contributors to provide all voucher specimen data that they have used in preparing their taxonomic treatments.

Comments of any kind are welcomed.

Please send your comments to: Si He, Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO, U.S.A. 63166-0299. E-mail: he@mobot.org.