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! Focussed on the Fossil Record@
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Glossaries, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias: Biology@
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Introductions to both Fossil and Recent Plant Taxa@

Teaching Documents about Classification and Nomenclature

J. David Allan, School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan: Lectures Notes, Fall Semester, Introduction To Global Change, The Process of Speciation.

John Alroy, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California, Santa Barbara: How many named species are valid? PNAS, vol. 99: 3706-3711, 2002.

John R. Anderson, Georgia Perimeter College Geology: The World of Geology, Prefix/Suffix Meanings. Website saved by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
See also here.

Francisco J. Ayala et al. (2000): Variation and evolution in plants and microorganisms: Toward a new synthesis 50 years after Stebbins. PNAS, 97: 6941-6944. Scroll to: "Trends and Patterns in Plant Evolution".

Prepared by Ralph Bailey, Garden Editor, House & Garden (Copyright 1948, 1962); by the Literary Guild of America, Inc. (website hosted by Chuck Walker's Traveling Herbarium): The Self-pronouncing Dictionary of Plant Names: abbreviatus to durius. (Revised Edition).

M.E. Barkworth, Utah State University: Notes for Plant Taxonomy. Some lecture notes (under construction). Go to:
Wondrous Events in Evolution. Powerpoint presentatation.
Now recovered from the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

R.M. Bateman and J. Hilton (2009): Palaeobotanical systematics for the phylogenetic age: applying organ-species, form-species and phylogenetic species concepts in a framework of reconstructed fossil and extant whole-plants. Taxon, 58: 1254-1280.

Günter Bechly, Böblingen: Glossary of Phylogenetic Systematics. with a critic of mainstream cladism. This terminology of phylogenetic systematics is a revised translation of a handout-manuscript for different courses on metazoan morphology, systematics and phylogeny at the Eberhard-Karls-University of Tübingen, Germany.

Lonna Beers, Library and Learning Resources Center, Montgomery College, Conroe, Texas: Journey into the World of Cladistics.

! P. Bengtson (1988): Open Nomenclature. Palaeontology, 31: 223-227. See also here.

! Biodiversity Heritage Library. Ten major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions have joined to form the Biodiversity Heritage Library Project. The group is developing a strategy and operational plan to digitize the published literature of biodiversity held in their respective collections. For the first time in history, the core of our natural history and herbaria library collections will be available to a truly global audience. Browse by titles, authors, subjects, names, map, or year.
Go to: Plants. Currently mor then 1500 titles tagged with "Plants". Superbly done!
Comment: Using "View text" is much quicker (for a first glance) then "View image".

Biology Encyclopedia (by Advameg, Inc.): History of Taxonomy.

Biology-Nation. This website provides resources for anyone with an interest in biology. (see also Whois Record). Many links lead to Wikipedia. Go to: Introduction to Taxonomy and Introduction to Cladistics.

BookRags, a research location for students of any age: Taxonomy.

Jane M. Bowles, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Western Ontario: The Names of Plants. Guide to plant collection and identification.

Jamie Boyer, The New York Botanical Garden: The Paleoplant Website. An educational resource for students and teachers studying Earth's history, fossils, and evolution.
! Go to: Evolutionary Theory. Lecture notes. Taxonomic classification and theory of evolution.

! B. Boyle et al. (2013): The taxonomic name resolution service: an online tool for automated standardization of plant names. BMC Bioinformatics, 14: 16.
The TNRS user interface is freely accessible via the TNRS website at

Steven M. Carr, Genetics, Evolution, and Molecular Systematics Laboratory, Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Canada: Principles of Systematics. Lecture notes with links.
Website now saved by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Gregory T. Chandler, The Australian National University:
Introduction to Taxonomy.

Philippe Choler, Laboratoire de Biologie des Populations d'Altitude, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble: Biologie Evolutive Végétale. Concepts and methods in evolutionary biology (in French).
Navigate from "Plan du cours" (access to about 335 slides).
Go to: Corystospermaceae, or Caytoniales.
These expired links are available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Regine Claßen-Bockhoff (2001): Plant Morphology: The Historic Concepts of Wilhelm Troll, Walter Zimmermann and Agnes Arber. Free PDF file, Annals of Botany, 88: 1153-1172.

! C.J. Cleal and B.A. Thomas (2010): Botanical nomenclature and plant fossils, Abstract, Taxon, 59: 261-268. See also here (in PDF).

C.J. Cleal and B.A. Thomas (2010): (101-103) Proposals to modify the provisions in the Code for naming plant fossils. In PDF, Taxon, 59: 303-313.

Deep Green - Green Plant Phylogeny Research Coordination Group (supported by National Science Foundation). The "Tree of Life" for plants. Two interactive versions are given: one is for reasearch and one is for teaching.

Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF). CETAF is a networked consortium of scientific institutions in Europe formed to promote training, research and understanding of systematic biology and palaeobiology. Go to: Links to taxonomic organisations, programs and initiatives.

! M.D. Crisp, Division of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University Canberra: Introductory Glossary of Cladistic Terms. Invited contribution of the Society of Australian Systematic Biologists (SASB).
Website outdated. The link is to a version archived by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Cyberinfrastructure for Phylogenetic Research (CIPRES). Building the Tree of Life: A National Resource for Phyloinformatics and Computational Phylogenetics. CIPRES is a collaboration of many american museums and institutions. Go to:
! Getting to the Roots of Plant Evolution (Powerpoint presentation). See also the Exercise Handout (PDF file).
Snapshots provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Cyberinfrastructure for Phylogenetic Research (CIPRES). Building the Tree of Life: A National Resource for Phyloinformatics and Computational Phylogenetics. CIPRES is a collaboration of many american museums and institutions. Go to:
What is Phylogeny? An introduction to phylogenetic trees and what they represent. See also: What can phylogenies be used for? and about the practical importance of the Tree of Life (a brochure from the National Science Foundation, in PDF).

J.A.T. da Silva (2016): In defense of the use of italic for latin binomial plant names. In PDF, Polish Botanical Journal, 61: 16.

Stephen R. Downie and Kenneth R. Robertson, Life Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne: Systematics of Plants. This course introduces the principles and methods of identifying, naming, and classifying flowering plants. It includes a survey of selected flowering plant families and provides information on their interrelationships. Go to: Digital Flowers.

Laura Drumm, National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML): Scientific Classification.

! Joe Felsenstein, Department of Genome Sciences and Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle: PHYLIP. PHYLIP is a free package of programs for inferring phylogenies. It is distributed as source code, documentation files, and a number of different types of executables. Go to: Phylogeny Programs. The programs listed here include both free and non-free ones.

Mark A. Garland, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Tallahassee, Florida: Scientific Names of Plants. A pronunciation guide for scientific Latin. Snapshot provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine. See also:
What Scientific Names of Plants Mean.

Thomas Gaßner (Evolutive Transformationen und Faunenschnitte), Natural History Museum Berlin: Die phylogenetische Systematik - eine Einführung (in German).

Die Globale Taxonomie Initiative GTI, Nationale Kontaktstelle Deutschland (part of the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, hosted by Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart). The objectives of the GTI are the provision of sufficient taxonomic capacities to fullfill the aims of the CBD, i.e. the protection and sustainable use of the components of biodiversity. See especially: Why does the world need taxonomy?
See also: Identification helps and keys for Animals, Plants and Fungi from all regions.
Snapshot taken by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

! Stephen Jay Gould: "Ontogeny and Phylogeny" (Harvard University Press 1977). Kittenish website, difficult to set a link, go to: Stephen Jay Gould Archive, menu left hand side, select "Cyber Library", click "Ontogeny and Phylogeny" (hidden in the book shelf, right hand side), click "Table of Contents". See also:
Book Review (by Danny Yee).

Stephen Jay Gould Archive (sponsored by Art Science Research Laboratory): Cyber Library, Harvard Course:
! B16: History of Earth and Life. A kittenish website. Difficult to set a link, click "Stephen Jay Gould" on the right hand side. Go to:
! Lab 1: The Invertebrate Phyla,
! Lab 2: The Fossil Record,
! Lab 3: Communities through Time, and
! Lab 4: Variation and Evolution (PDF files). See also:
B16: History of Earth and Life, Source Books.
These expired links are now available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

N. Haider (2018): A Brief Review on Plant Taxonomy and its Components. In PDF, The Journal of Plant Science Research, 34: 275-290. See also here.

R. Hays Cummins, Interdisciplinary Studies, Miami University: The "Nuts and Bolts" of Taxonomy and Classification.

Hooper Virtual Natural History Museum (named for now retired Dr. Ken Hooper, a Carleton University micropaleontologist) Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada). The principle objective of this museum is to provide a state-of-the-art summary of items of geological interest, emphasizing areas currently being studied by students and research faculty.
For some special topics you may navigate from here or from there (The archives).
See especially:
! Classification Systems - What´s in a Name?
! Terrestrialization - Who, Why, How, and When.

! The Index Nominum Genericorum ING (U.S. National Herbarium, Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution). A compilation of generic names published for organisms covered by the ICN: International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants. Excellent!

! The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). The goal is to create an easily accessible database with reliable information on species names and their hierarchical classification. The ITIS includes documented taxonomic information of flora and fauna from both aquatic and terrestrial habitats.

! International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Melbourne Code).
Adopted by the Eighteenth International Botanical Congress Melbourne, Australia, July 2011. Prepared and edited by J. McNeill et al., International Association for Plant Taxonomy.

! International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). The author of this Code is the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Adopted by the International Union of Biological Sciences. See also:
International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature: The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (4th edition, 1999).

International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT). IAPT is dedicated to organismal biodiversity the extent, recognition, organization, evolution, and naming of plants and fungi, both living and fossil. See especially:
! International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants.

! International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. Adopted by the Sixteenth International Botanical Congress St Louis, Missouri, July-August 1999.

! The International Fossil Plant Names Index (IFPNI).
An online registration of fossil plant names. IFPNI is headquartered at the Fundamental Botanical Library, National Institute of Carpology (Gaertnerian Institution), Moscow.

Mark Isaak, Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature.

W.S. Judd, C.S. Campbell, E.A. Kellogg, and P.F. Stevens: A Phylogenetic Approach, Chapter 2: Plant Systematics. PDF file, 2nd Edition, 2002. Sinauer Associates, Inc.

M. Alan Kazlev, Kheper website, Australia: The Classification of Living Organisms. See also: Prokaryotes.

! The Kew Record of Taxonomic Literature (by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew): A database of references relevant to the taxonomy of flowering plants, gymnosperms and ferns.

Michael Knee, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, Ohio State University, Columbus: General Plant Biology Online Resources. Lecture notes. Go to: Overview of classification.

A.H. Knoll (2012): Systems Paleobiology. In PDF. See also
here (, or
there (YouTube).

Sophia Kossida, Principles of Protein Structure Using the Internet: Molecular Phylogenetics.

Z. Kvacek (2008): The role of types in palaeobotanical nomenclature. In PDF, Acta Mus. Nat. Pragae, Ser. B, Hist. Nat., 64: 89-96.

E. Levetin and K. McMahon: Plants and Society, Fifth Edition. See also here. Go to:
2. Introduction to Plant Life: Botanical Principles.
! Plant Systematics and Evolution. In PDF.
For other chapters navigate from here.

Estelle Levetin and Karen McMahon, University of Tulsa (McGraw-Hill Companies): Plants and Society. McGraw-Hill has worked to create a variety of tools and resources to accompany the third edition. Go to: Web Links, Chapter 8: Plant Systematics and Evolution.

! Jere H. Lipps, University of California, Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, CA: The Decline of Reason? About science and anti-science.

Jonathan B. Losos and D. Luke Mahler (2010): Chapter 15, Adaptive radiation: the interaction of ecological opportunity, adaptation, and speciation. PDF file. Provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

The Natural History Museum London: Nature online > The science of natural history > Taxonomy and systematics What´s in a name? A history of taxonomy by Sandra Knapp.
See also: Nature online > The science of natural history > Natural history biographies.

University of London External System, London, UK (This is is a division of the University of London that grants external degrees: Study in Economics, Management, Finance and Social Sciences (EMFSS), Biogeography. Go to: Chapter 2: Properties of species, genera and families. This PDF file briefly reviews the classification systems used to describe the kinds and number of species on earth.

James R. Manhart, Texas A&M Bioinformatics Working Group, Texas A&M University: Taxonomy of Flowering Plants. Lecture notes. See also here.

! S.C. Matthews (1973): Notes on open Nomenclature and on synonymy lists. Palaeontology, Volume 16, Part 4, 1973, Pages 713-719. Accessible through the website.

Richard M. McCourt, Department of Botany Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia; R. L. Chapman, Mark Buchheim and Brent D. Mishler, Tree of Life Project: Green plants. Green plants as defined here includes a broad assemblage of photosynthetic organisms that all contain chlorophylls a and b, store their photosynthetic products as starch inside the double-membrane-bounded chloroplasts in which it is produced, and have cell walls made of cellulose. They include all organisms commonly known as green algae and land plants, including liverworts, mosses, ferns and other nonseed plants, and seed plants.

Michael McDarby, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Johnstown, NY: Classification Key, and Biological Classification.

Michigan Proficiency Exams: Need prefix suffix help? and The Suffix List.
This expired link is now available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

D.C. Mildenhall, Geology Department, Victoria University of Wellington: The Selection of Lectotypes in Palaeobotany. Tuatara: Volume 17, Issue 3, December 1969 (!)

Ian Miller and Rose Prevec, Palaeontologia Electronica Volume 9, Issue 2 (2006): Palaeobotany in the Digital Age: Unearthing the Future of Taxonomy.

NICAR (?):
! The International Fossil Plant Names Index (IFPNI).
The goal of IFPNI, an independent non-profit-making project which is dedicated to the promotion of fossil plant science, is to compile and maintain a comprehensive literature based record of the scientific names of fossil plants.

! Dan H. Nicolson, Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC: Conserved and rejected plant names: proposals and disposals. An index to the plant names proposed for conservation or rejection since the first proposals in 1892.

Peter Ommundsen, Selkirk College, Canada: Pronunciation of Biological Latin. Including taxonomic names of plants and animals. See also here (PDF file).

! Dennis O´Neil, Behavioral Sciences Department, Palomar College, San Marcos, California: Classification of Living Things. An introduction to the principles of taxonomy with a focus on human classification categories. In this tutorial you will be learning about the Linnaean system of classification used in the biological sciences to describe and categorize all living things.

! J.D. Palmer et al. (2004): The plant tree of life: an overview and some points of view. Free access, American Journal of Botany, 91: 1437-1445.

R. Toby Pennington et al. (2004): Introduction and synthesis: Plant phylogeny and the origin of major biomes. PDF file, Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B, Biol. Sci., 359: 1455-1464. See also here.

The PhyloCode (hosted by Ohio University, Athens, Ohio). A phylogenetic code of biological nomenclature. The development of the PhyloCode grew out of a recognition that the current Linnaean system of nomenclature, as embodied in the preexisting botanical, zoological, and bacteriological codes, is not well suited to govern the naming of clades and species.
See also here (Wikipedia).

John D. Pinto, Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside Systematics and Biological Characteristics.

! The Plant Fossil Names Registry (PFNR): Developed and maintained in the National Museum Prague since 2014 under the auspices of the International Organisation of Palaeobotany (IOP).
The Plant Fossil Names Registry is a database of names registering preferentially new, but also previously published names of plant fossils and associated nomenclatural acts. study tools:
! Search for Taxonomy.

! A.E. Radford, W.C. Dickison, J.R. Massey, & C.R. Bell (Harper and Row, New York): Vascular Plant Systematics. This book was written as a reference text for basic courses in taxonomy and as a source book of information, procedures and references for ecosystematics, biosystematics, phylosystematics and chemosystematics. It includes:
(1) an essentially synoptical treatment of the evidence, principles, and concepts considered fundamental to vascular plant taxonomic studies and research;
(2) organized laboratory and field exercises and problems basic to systematics;
(3) useable and useful techniques;
(4) summaries of terminology pertinent to taxonomy;
(5) relevant bibliographies and indices; and (6) information on systematic facilities.
Searching images you may navigate from here. See also:
Section B: General Characters and Character States, A. Location or Environmental Position. Classification based on position of organs or parts in their surrounding environment.

James L. Reveal, Norton-Brown Herbarium, University of Maryland: Principles of Plant Taxonomy. Lecture notes.
This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

G.W. Rothwell et al. (2018): Tree of death: The role of fossils in resolving the overall pattern of plant phylogeny. Free access, American Journal of Botany, 105: 14. See also here and there.

! G. Rouhan and M. Gaudeul (2014): Plant taxonomy: a historical perspective, current challenges, and perspectives. Abstract, Molecular Plant Taxonomy, pp. 1-37; In: Pascale, B. (ed.), Molecular Plant Taxonomy: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1115. See also here (in PDF), and there.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Plant Names (PDF file). A Kew information sheet.
This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Royal Ontario Museum, University of Toronto: The Muskoka Flora - What are species and sub-specific taxa? Learn the taxonomic identification beginning with species, continuing through subspecies, varieties, and forma. This site primarily focuses on the taxonomy of vascular plants.

John Rushin, Missouri Western State University:
History of Plant Taxonomy.
Plant Taxonomy (Systematics).
Powerpoint presentations.

J. Rust (2007): Die Bedeutung von Fossilien für phylogenetische Rekonstruktionen. In PDF, go to PDF page 75. In: Species, Phylogeny and Evolution, Phylogenetisches Symposium Göttingen.
Snapshot provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

ScaleNet, Background Information: Glossary. Glossary of terms pertaining to nomenclature.

H. Schneider, (2006), starting on PDF page 65: Plant morphology as the cornerstone to the integration of fossil and extant taxa in phylogenetic systematics. PDF file, in German. Species, Phylogeny and Evolution, 1. Themenheft Phylogenetisches Symposium Göttingen: Der Stellenwert der Morphologie in der heutigen Phylogenetische Systematik.
This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Bob Sheehy, Department of Biology, Radford University,Virginia: Molecular Evolution, Phylogenetics and Genetics. A link directory.

Mark E. Siddall, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY: Phylogenetics: just methods. Various methods in systematics.

! P.F. Stevens and Hilary Davis, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis: Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. The focus of this site is on angiosperms and emphasis is placed on plant families. You can also navigate from the Orders- or the Families-website. Go to:

! Department of Phanerogamic Botany, Swedish Museum of Natural History: Linnean herbarium (S-LINN): Superbly done!

Douglas Theobald, TalkOrigins Archive: Evidences for Macroevolution, Part 1: The Unique Universal Phylogenetic Tree.

! S.A. Thomson et al. (2018): Taxonomy based on science is necessary for global conservation. Open access, PLoS Biol, 16: e2005075.

! M. Vorontsova, Herbarium, Kew Gardens: Big changes for names of algae, fungi, plants and plant fossils.
Snapshot taken by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Wayne's Word: The Five Kingdoms Of Life. Brief information about the five major kingdoms, including the Monera, the Protista (Protoctista), the Fungi, the Plantae, and the Animalia.

Campbell O. Webb and Michael Donoghue, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Yale University: Phylomatic. A database for applied phylogenetics. The online software takes your list of taxa, and first tries to match them by genus name to the megatree.

! Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Biological classification.
Systematics. Scientific classification.
Botanical nomenclature.

The Willi Hennig Society: Education. A link directory.

J. Witteveen (2016): Suppressing Synonymy with a Homonym: The Emergence of the Nomenclatural Type Concept in Nineteenth Century Natural History. Open access, Journal of the History of Biology, 49: 135189.

Steven J. Wolf, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Stanislaus: Flowering Plants. Lecture notes about plant taxonomy and systematics, history of plant taxonomy, identification keys used to identify plants, plant nomenclature, etc. Go to: History of Plant Taxonomy.
These expired links are now available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven, Connecticut:
! Compendium Index of North American Paleobotany. The Compendium Index presently covers fossil floras from North America, including Greenland, starting in the Triassic Period and extending to Pleistocene. This is a digitized version of a card-file index of approximately 20,000 images and text of descriptions of fossil plant species, maintained at Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History as a classification and identification tool.

Doug Yanega: Curious Scientific Names. Some weird and wacky scientific names in biological nomenclature.

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Last updated January 13, 2019

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