Plants of the World Online impressed us because its vast, easily searchable database, its design, and the rich detail of its information make this resource valuable for plant researchers while remaining interesting to casual visitors. For example, visitors can search by colors or other descriptive words, rather than being limited to scientific or common names. Since we first featured this resource in January 2019, it has added more than 20,000 detailed descriptions.
With over 250 years of gathered knowledge, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is one of the world's leaders in the field of botany. One of Kew's recent initiatives is Plants of the World Online (POWO). Launched in March 2017, POWO is a digital portal with an aim to "enable users to access information on all the world's known seed-bearing plants by 2020." Visitors to this project will find a well-designed, searchable database containing (at the time of this write-up) over 1.1 million plant names from around the world, more than 65,000 detailed descriptions, and nearly 200,000 images. Readers can search POWO by a plant's common, species, genus, or family name, and they can also search by descriptive words, such as colors. This ongoing project launched with an initial focus on "key tropical African Floras - Flora Zambesiaca, Flora of West Tropical Africa and Flora of Tropical East Africa specifically," with plans to have global coverage by 2020 as more of Kew's vast collections are digitized over time. POWO is led by Abigail Barker, Kew's Head of Biodiversity Informatics and Spatial Analysis.
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