Welcome to The Oxford Plant Observatory

Please note that this is a draft site, under development and with limited data linked. As we move forwards, it will be possible to select data layers to view and combine. And also to submit you own data from botanical surveys, checklists, and herbarium data sets. To make a start, we have added one significant data set for Tropical Africa displaying bioquality hotspots in one degree cells.

The Oxford Plant Observatory is a site for plant biodiversity and conservation research, linking research, educational and reference material for plants around the world.

Based in Oxford University's Department of Plant Sciences, we are aiming for high academic standards and botanical accuracy, but with a keen eye on making information accessible to a wide range of users.

TOPO provides a framework that encourages more advanced users to put their own part of the botanical world on the map by supplying images and accurate data. The site encourages others to share their data, once they have seen the framework's benefits to both themselves, to the world's biodiversity and to the public.

The key interwoven themes are:

  • Plant imagery: what does a species look like, including plants in the wild, herbarium specimens and technical illustrations and many important details normally missing amongst other images on the web, to help with identification and taxonomy.
  • Plant information: textual information about the plants, including data from herbarium databases and published literature.
  • Plant taxonomy: Data can be filtered and searched by many routes, including a hierarchical tree-of-life taxonomic filter.
  • Plant geography: species can be filtered according to where they occur, at any scale - within the limits of the data in our database, of course. Lists can be generated for regions in the database or from the zoomable world map.
  • Botanic Survey and other Plant community data: A repository for plot data and check-lists of any size, from peer-reviewed sources. RBS methods and projects which generate the data are also described.
  • Hotspot mapping: Bioquality (endemicity-weighted) hotspots are shown at any scale, according to a standard method, derived from the RBS and other check-list data.