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The first major regional flora ever written in Spanish, Flora Mesoamericana is a collaborative effort of the Missouri Botanical Garden the Instituto de Biología of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Natural History Museum, London, and numerous specialists world-wide. In Spanish, the Flora describes, for the first time, all the vascular plants growing in the southeasternmost states of Mexico (including the Yucatán Peninsula) and all the Central American republics. The project publishes its results in this Internet version (W3FM), as well as in printed volumes. W3FM first appeared on the Internet in 1994 from the Natural History Museum server. It is currently being made available from a Missouri Botanical Garden server and was converted to a real-time version during October 1997. UNAM published the first printed volume, Volume 6: Alismataceae a Cyperaceae in March 1994, and Volume 1: Psilotaceae a Salviniaceae was published in November 1995. Books are available through the Missouri Botanical Garden 's Scientific Publications department, and for Mexico, from the Instituto de Biología (UNAM).


The Internet version of Flora Mesoamericana (W3FM) is organized in a checklist format in which each botanical name has its own page that is linked to other pages. The checklist is designed to give users a broad overview of the Mesoamerican flora and allow them to easily navigate and browse the Flora. You may search the Flora for any scientific name or you may choose one from eight different indices. Each page is assembled on demand from data in the Flora Mesoamericana production database as a query is made by the user, and each web page thus represents the latest up-to-date information. Links are provided to images, descriptions, identification keys, voucher specimens, maps, other names (synonymy), and taxon-to-taxon links to alternate taxonomic treatments. Any part of W3FM may be updated at anytime as new and more up-to-date information become available. We appreciate being notified about errors and will make every effort to correct these as soon as possible.

The Checklist (Lista Anotada) usually contains full data on place of publication and typification, synonymy as established by Flora Mesoamericana contributors, and, for accepted names, representative specimen citations selected at random from the specimen database. This thus gives the user a quick view of the status of any name in Mesoamerica

For a list of all accepted taxa, see the index for accepted taxa (taxa aceptados). This list includes provisionally accepted taxa that are believed to occur in Mesoamerica, but which have not yet been treated by Flora Mesoamericana contributors. This list will be completed for all families during 1998. It will provide an up-to-date account of the nearly 17,000 species believed to occur in Mesoamerica. Frequent updates will be made, especially as our contributors finalize their accounts.


Images of accepted species (taxa with illustrations) are still few, but more will be added as time and resources allow. We hope to eventually provide at least one image for each accepted species, and our ultimate goal is to have each image vouchered with a herbarium specimen. We greatly welcome the donations of such images or permission to use or build links to published images. All such contributions will be fully credited.


Descriptions are intended to be parallel and, therefore, easy to compare. As a convenience to the user, in addition to the description per se, we include the full text of the taxon treatment as it will eventually appear in the printed volumes. Please note that for volumes already printed, updates may have been made; in other words, the W3FM descriptions are not necessarily the same as those in the printed volumes. (See Taxa with new data. [nueva información])


Dichotomous keys can be found below the descriptions of the next-higher-taxon; for example, keys to species are found after the generic description to which those species belong; similarly, keys to genera are found after the family description to which those genera belong.


Voucher data is provided for all specimens recorded in the Mesoamerican database. As of October 1997, data for approximately 210,00 specimens had been recorded, out of an estimated 1.7 million available specimens in the world's herbaria. This part of the database will grow on a daily basis for many years. We welcome data sets that can be used by the project and/or notification about web-published data sets to which links can be made. All contributed data will be fully credited.


Distribution maps are initially being made available only for taxa for which we have voucher specimens with precise geographical coordinates. However, with the notable exception of the majority of Nicaraguan specimens, the large majority of existing Mesoamerican herbarium specimens do not have geographical coordinates as part of the label data, and for this reason our maps usually do not yet fully reflect the known Mesoamerican distribution for each taxon. Work is in progress to remedy this deficiency.

Links to Other Taxonomic Treatments

Currently under construction, taxon-to-taxon links are being built to all web-based, national Mesoamerican floras and checklists and eventually to all those in the Western Hemisphere. For additional taxonomic views, each name in W3FM is also always linked to W3TROPICOS, the Missouri Botanical Garden's botanical database, in which other recently published classifications and taxonomic opinions (often many) are usually recorded and linked to the relevant bibliographic citations.

New Data

W3FM is the primary means by which changes since the publication of a printed volume of Flora Mesoamericana are being tracked. Such updates are documented by literature references, and/or comments and new observations from contributors, and/or voucher specimens, and appear under the heading Datos Nuevos on the appropriate checklist pages. To obtain a list of the taxa with such updates, click on the index entitled Taxa con Nueva Información.Updates that have been made since publication of the Flora Mesoamericana volume containing the family, are currently organized around the following twenty categories of new information:
  1. Newly described taxon.
  2. New report of this taxon in Mesoamerica.
  3. Additional new Mesoamerican distribution for this taxon.
  4. New name resulting from a reclassification proposed for this taxon.
  5. New name necessitated by the rules of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
  6. New data on typification for this taxon.
  7. Additional synonymy for this taxon.
  8. Deleted synonymy for this taxon.
  9. Corrected synonymy for this taxon.
  10. Deleted Mesoamerican distribution for this taxon. The original distribution statement was based on a partial misidentification.
  11. Deleted taxon. The original report of this taxon for Mesoamerica was based on a misidentification.
  12. Newly recognized taxon, but the name, as far as known on the date listed below, had not yet been validly published.
  13. Additional general distribution for this taxon.
  14. New synonymy for this taxon.
  15. New author citation necessitated by the rules of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature .
  16. Deleted distribution for this taxon . The original distribution statement was based on a misinterpretation of the locality data on the label of the voucher specimen.
  17. Through editorial error, data from the original manuscript was omitted from the printed volume and has now been restored.
  18. New literature citation necessitated by the rules of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
  19. Correction of the orthography of the scientific name as mandated by the rules of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
  20. Deleted general distribution for this taxon. The original distribution statement was based on a partial misidentification or unconfirmed report.

All other updates are simply incorporated into W3FM as needed.

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