hydrurga's picture


One of the earliest plants that I came across in my new interest for flowering plants was Garden Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum). I decided that where possible, for all the plants I encountered, I would take a note of the family name.

My main 2 sources at the time gave differing family names for Ornithogalum, namely Hyacinthaceae and Liliaceae. I asked which of these was correct within the observation notes and another iSpot user kindly pointed out that, with a recent revision of angiosperm phylogeny, Ornithogalum was now in fact in Asparagaceae and this was probably its best place long-term.

I know that classification of any type can be problematic, but my question is thus:

. Where is the best online source which will give me the most up-to-date phylogeny for a given species?

In the above example, Stace's Flora of NW Europe still gives Liliaceae while the Kew Gardens website still gives Hyacinthaceae.

Many thanks.



landgirl's picture

Plant families

Have you seen this site? http://www.theplantlist.org/
It gives the correct family for your example and you can search by genera.
I got there through the BSBI website.

hydrurga's picture

Re: Plant families

No I hadn't - that's excellent, thanks for letting me know about this landgirl. In the end I have been getting my family names from Wikipedia which seems to react very quickly to classification changes, but this source looks very good and I'll use it from now on.

martinjohnbishop's picture

If you want to know the reasons and latest thinking then

Amadan's picture

The speed of change -

in systematic names seems remarkable these days! One problem you may find is that the iSPot database will sometimes offer a different (usually older, I think) binomial.
I seldom check if the "get recommended" name is the most up-to-date, but this has the consequence that should there be a newer name than iSPot's offering, someone will point out and/or correct your choice. But if you go with the more modern one you've found, I don't think other observations of the same species then link to yours.
If you find it matters, perhaps best to go with the iSPot recommended version, and add the other name as a comment or identification note.