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A how-to guide to each of Kettering's databases.

JSTOR Global Plants

Using JSTOR Global Plants

The largest of its kind, Global Plants is a community-contributed database used by students and researchers worldwide. JSTOR has put together their own LibGuide on how to use Global Plants here.

Global Plants lets herbaria share their plant type specimens, experts determine and update plant names, and students discover and learn about plants in context. The database is an essential resource for institutions supporting research and teaching in botany, ecology, and conservation studies.

A video introduction to the Global Plants Initiative by Dr. Barbara Thiers of the New York Botanical Garden is available here.

Global Plants was made possible by the Global Plants Initiative (GPI), an international undertaking by leading herbaria.

The GPI seeks to digitize and make available plant type specimens and other holdings used by botanists every day. Partners include more than 300 institutions in more than 70 countries. JSTOR facilitates this initiative by providing production, platform, technical, and promotional support to the participating Global Plants Initiative partners.

The Global Plants database contains more than two million high-resolution type specimens, and this number continues to grow. Plant type specimens are in great demand for scientific study because of their pivotal role as original vouchers of nomenclature. They also act as a historical record of changes in various flora.

The specimens have been hand-selected and meticulously digitized by partner herbaria with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Database Features

Scientists, students, and others will find tools to help them conduct their research:

  • Search: Find results quickly through domain-specific filters
  • Image viewer: Examine high-resolution images with a newly improved image viewer; measure and save plant information
  • Linking: Discover relevant journal articles on JSTOR, and content from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and Tropicos
  • Commenting: Be part of the scientific discourse – active discussion on plant specimen data by experts in the field
  • Stable Links: Locate, cite, and create stable links to type specimens 
  • Compilation Page: View all the resources in the database related to a particular plant name or taxon in one place


Related Primary Sources

Partner-contributed reference works and primary sources, such as collectors’ correspondence and diaries, paintings, drawings, and photographs, are also housed in Global Plants. Highlights include reference works and books such as The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa and Flowering Plants of South Africa; illustrations from Curtis's Botanical Magazine; and Kew’s Directors' Correspondence comprising handwritten letters and memoranda from the senior staff of Kew from 1841 to 1928.

Notable primary source objects include:

  • Cook's Voyages to the South Seas
  • Curtis's Botanical Magazine
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Director's Correspondence
  • Linnean Annotated Books Collection
  • The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa

Download a chart of all special collections in Global Plants.

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