Online resources for botanical and conservation research in Japan

Japan is relatively well studied taxonomically, and an updated Flora of Japan is available, but this flora has yet to be completed for monocots. The first complete English Flora of Japan published in 1965 (Ohwi et al., 1965) has been in review and six out of eight volumes have been published by 2012 (Iwatsuki et al., 1999, 2001, 2005, in preperation-a, b, Iwatsuki et al., 1993, Iwatsuki et al., 1995a, Iwatsuki et al., 1995b). Kew's World Checklist of Selected Plant Families is a good additional data source although users are reminded that such global-level references do not always give adequately detailed information on, for instance, fine-resolution geographic range of species.

Data sources

  • Flora of Japan (hereafter FOJ) volumes 1, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a and 3b (Iwatsuki et al., 1999, 2001, 2005, Iwatsuki et al., 1993, Iwatsuki et al., 1995a, Iwatsuki et al., 1995b). Data were provided by Motomi Ito's group at the University of Tokyo, Japan. The online database for FOJ volumes 1, 2c and 3a is also available at
  • Kew's World Checklist of Selected Plant Families and Kew's list for the Gramineae (hereafter Kew WCSP) (W.C.S.P., 2012). Kew WCSP was used to cover monocot families which are not yet published in the revised Flora of Japan series. Monocot data were obtained from Kew's online database at; and from Kew's Grasses list at for Gramineae (last accessed on 5 March 2012). 'Botanical countries' defined by the TDWG level 3 codes were used as search criteria to build a checklist of monocots in Japan using Kew's data. The four botanical countries with their TDWG codes extracted for Japan were: JAP for mainland Japan, OGA for Ogasawara Islands, NNS for Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-Shoto), and KZN for Kazan Islands.

Additional data sources consulted

This online resource represents the first near complete database of Japanese vascular plants.

This website is still under development, and more information such as plot data from the DPhil study will be added in the future.


Nodoka Nakamura, completed DPhil in Plant Sciences at University of Oxford in 2012. 'Dissecting the Japanese hotspot: refining evaluation of biodiversity in forests at different scales in the Japanese landscape'. The theme of her thesis was on assessing biodiversity hotspots of Japan at various scales with a particular focus on plant global rarity. This website is based on a Flora of Japan BRAHMS database compiled as part of this work.

Acknowledgements: W. Hawthorne for supervision on my DPhil study. D. Filer for BRAHMS and website support; M. Ito for the Flora of Japan data; M. Gibb for website development support; K. Obata, Z. Iha, G. Kokubugata for fieldwork advice and plant identification; H. Makihara for beetle sampling and identification; M. Kakizaki, H. Tsukamoto, K. Miyagi, Y. Miyagi, Miyabi Nakamura, Mizuki Nakamura for fieldwork assistance; Local NGOs, Okinawa Forestry Research Centre (M. Gushiken, T. Miyagi, T. Kiuna), University of the Ryukyus (T. Sasaki), FFPRI for practical support. M. Higa, N. Tanaka's team for GIS support. C. Dixon for data extraction support; M. Yokota for the Checklist of the Ryukyus data; N. Brown for lab support; Kobe Institute, S. E. Wilson scholarship, the GERF (H-081) of the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, Keble College and Mike Soper fund for funding.