The Flora, Conservation, and Education: Toward the Future

Welcome! The Flora of Virginia Project was undertaken in 2001 to steer creation of the first comprehensive reference work on the native and naturalized plants of Virginia. The Project undertook a fourfold mission:

To produce a comprehensive manual of the plants of Virginia.

In text, the mission of the Flora of Virginia Project.

 To provide a tool for plant identification and study by professional and avocational users, from academia, government, industry, and the public.

 To incorporate the latest genetics-based information on evolutionary relationships, along with the best traditional taxonomic approaches.

 To increase appreciation of and interest in conservation of Virginia’s diverse and unique botanical heritage.

The Flora of Virginia, published in November 2012, describes 3,164 plant species or lower taxa in nearly 200 families, accompanied by 1,400 original, captioned, scaled, and botanically accurate illustrations. The taxonomic approach is cutting-edge, based on genetic research that renders other floras for the region obsolete. Plant identification is driven by a series of dichotomous keys.

Descriptions include information on morphology, flowering and fruiting times, habitat, and status, as well as comments that simplify identification or present other information. Users are finding the habitat and status information unique for a flora, and it is helpful to gardeners as well as botanists.

With publication, then, the first three points of our earlier mission have been met. We are now concentrating on the fourth, turning our attention to those who are using this manual. Our focus is education and outreach, including the Flora App, now in the early stages of development. The app will make information from the Flora—and from six other Virginia plant-related databases—available on portable devices.

Banner photographs by Gary P. Fleming