Guide to the A to Z Pages of the Plant List 2010


It seemed quite logical that we in the Wild Flower Society should use New Flora of the British Isles as a major reference source since many of us were known to use this book as our Wild Flower "Bible". At the time we made the decision (2009) there were two editions in circulation but recently a third has been published. This third edition has introduced significant changes to names as well as to Families and has added new species. This poses a problem for our membership as not all will have access to the new third edition.

This list of plants contains all the changes from edition 2 to edition 3 of New Flora of the British Isles and, unlike other references such as Kent which delete the old entry substituting the new, both old and new names are shown and colour coded. There are about 770 changes which include the old name, new name, new species plus new hybrid names.

A special technique called "Tool tips" is used to give information that would otherwise make the list cluttered and unwieldy. To make it work your Browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome etc) must have scripts enabled.

The appearance of the basic list has changed and now looks like this:

Systematic Names Common Name In Kent? Type Kent ref. Status Authority Record No.
Anemone apennina Blue Anemone Yes A1 28--9--2 Ne L. 0920000104

Alyssum saxatile L.
Golden Alison
This name has been changed (back) to:

Aurinia saxatilis (L.) Desv.

See New Flora of the British Isles Edition 3 by Clive Stace page 406.

For Alyssum saxatile see:
Stace Edition 2 page 263,
Stace Edition 1 page 320.

Alyssum saxatile
Golden Alison Yes A1 62--18--2 Ne L. 0920004357

Achillea maritima (L.) Ehrhend & Y.P.Guo
Achillea maritima is a new name in New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace Edition 3 page 754.

The old name was:

Otanthus maritimus (L.) Hoffmans. & Link

For Otanthus maritimus see:
Stace Edition 2 page 731,
Stace Edition 1 page 861.

Achillea maritima
Cottonweed Stace 3       (L.) Ehrhend & Y.P.Guo  

Acaena caesiiglauca (Bitter) Bergmans
Glaucous Pirri-pirri-bur
Acaena caesiiglauca which was in the old list on this site, has now been given a full species description in New Flora of the British Isles Edition 3 by Clive Stace on page 262.

For Acaena caesiiglauca see:
Stace Edition 2 page 350,
Stace Edition 1 page 420.

Acaena caesiiglauca
Glaucous Pirri-pirri-bur Yes S3 A1 75--18--cae Ne (Bitter) Bergmans  
Alyssum serpyllifolium   Clement A3 62--18--ser   Desf. 0920005801

Revealing other information with the lists

The first name on the list, Anemone apennina is and example of an unchanged entry. It is in Kent (Yes in the In Kent? column) and so is part of our WFS reference list of plants.

Next consider the entry for Alyssum saxatile (Golden Alison). That name was acceptable only a short time ago but it has changed in Stace 3 so the whole line is shaded in grey. To reveal more details, place the cursor on the systematic name. A box should appear with information which remains on screen if the cursor remains stationary.


The box uses funereal grey, black and white colours signifying that this name is dead - no longer current - not be used in future. The box also contains the new name, the names of the authors if known, and page numbers for each of the editions of New Flora so that the user can look the old and new names of species up quickly. (Professor Stace has told me that the pagination between reprints remained the same so the page references should work). The other columns in the main list, showing that the old name still has Kent reference demonstrates the complication of having reference texts which were published on different dates. In this case the plant still exists, can be found in Kent, and can be counted but has a new name: Aurinia saxatilis. Not everyone will have the Stace 3 but this list and the page references to all editions may help a little to clarify the situation.

Next, below the Alyssum saxatile example, is a yellow shaded row for Achillea maritima. This is a new name in Stace 3 and allowing the cursor to settle on the systematic name reveals a different coloured box of information (see below). Cottonweed which was for a long time given the systematic name Otanthus maritimus, is now known as Achillea maritima.


This time the box is blue meaning that the plant has a new name. The old name is also given and as before there are page references to New Flora of the British Isles in all editions. This is the systematic name which should be used from now on for this plant.

Next below the yellow Achillea maritima row is an olive green row for Acaeana caesiglauca. This signifies a new species for the New Flora and although there may be a reference to it in "other species" at the beginning of the account of a genus there may well be no reference or mention at all in editions 2 and 1.


This time the box is red signifying a completely new species for Stace edition 3 which did not appear in editions 2 or 1. There may be page numbers referring to the nearest genus to this one in the older editions if no direct reference exists. These new species are now in the Wild Flower Society reference list but obviously if you don't have access to a copy of New Flora of the British Isles edition 3, detailed descriptions of the plant will not be available to you.

In each of these cases the systematic name box changes to the same background colour as the pop-up or tool-tip box so the user knows to which plant the information refers

Systematic names

The original list on this site was based on the BSBI2007 list of plants. The task of changing the names was made easier by the publication of a list of changes in the September 2010 issue of BSBI. Members of the Wild Flower Society who wish to know which of our plants can be counted for recording purposes can now do this by consulting the lists on our web site.

The Wild Flower Society reference list

The flora of the British Isles comprises approximately equal numbers native and introduced plants. It has always been problematic for any society recording the occurrence of plants in the wild to decide which can be recorded and which are best ignored. Plants which have fallen just outside a garden in which others of the same kind are flourishing are not "in the wild" at that site but elsewhere they may be. Similarly exotic aliens which cannot survive long in our climate are noted but not necessarily counted as "belonging" to our flora until they become established. The Wild Flower Society (WFS) has recognised native plants and those which have established themselves over a period of time as introductions/alien species in the wild. Our reference list for many years was "List of vascular plants of the British Isles" by J.E.Dandy and later by D.H. Kent with the latest supplements by Clive Stace. In 2009 the WFS decided that New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace could be added to this reference list.

The list here contains all plants known to the British flora and that includes some temporary residents. Species which the Wild Flower Society recognises with have there symbols in the "In Kent" column:

Yes meaning that the species is recognised by Kent's list.

S1, S2 or S3 meaning that the species is recognised by one of the supplements to Kent's list.

Page 79 meaning that that species is part of our WFS diary on page 79.

Stace, Stace 2 or Stace 3 meaning that species is given a full description in New Flora of the British Isles.

Species which cannot be included have "Clement" in this column. Some of these plants may appear in Stace 3 as "other genera" or "other species" but unless they have a full description they are not part of the accepted list for the WFS.

For example in the above extracts, Alyssum serpyllifolium at the bottom, is recognised by Clement only and does not appear either in Kent's list or in Stace. Alyssum serpyllifolium is not therefore on our reference list of plants for the Wild Flower Society.

The timing of changes in the last few years

J.E. Dandy's List of Vascular Plants published in 1958

Stace 1 first published in 1991

Stace 1 reprinted in 1992

D.H.Kent's List of Vascular plants published in June 1992

Stace 1 reprinted in 1995

Supplement 1 to List of Vascular plants published in January 1997 (D.H.Kent)

Stace 2 published in 1997

Supplement 2 to List of Vascular plants published in August February 2000 (C.A.Stace)

Stace 2 was reprinted in 2005

Supplement 3 to List of Vascular plants published in February 2006

BSBI2007 list of all British Plants published online

Stace 3 was published in 2010

This means that the BSBI2007 list which the WFS used as basis for its reference contained some changes to names which were eventually to appear in Stace 3 in 2010. These changes had not been published in Stace 2. Similarly BSBI2007 has access to Supplement 3 of Kent's list and so was more up-to-date than Stace 2. Looking up the name of a plant subject to change made more difficult by the fact that the BSBI list simply deleted an old name and substituted the new one.

If the old name was not present on the BSBI list it has now been added. So even using older books, members should be able to find the plant name with which they are familiar and find out the new name for that plant.

Common Name

As in the previous list, these are common names for plants according to the various authors of these lists. They have a convention of their own which for instance doesn't allocate a common name to a plant which is an aggregate. So Rubus fruticosus agg. which is the name we would give for any Bramble seen but not identified specifically, is given no common name in these lists.

Peter Sell and Gina Murell in their new Flora of Great Britain and Ireland Volume 4, have given common names to all the Dandelions and Hawkweeds but on these lists the names are left blank. Common names are very often a personal preference and since they vary around the country can't be selected in the same systematic way. Lotus corniculatus (Bird's-foot Trefoil to me) actually has over 70 different common names. The common names, unsystematic though they are, change far less often than the systematic names and so are still very useful. In WFS use Stace as our reference for Common names as well as systematic ones.

In Kent?

This column is really a relic from the days when we used only Kent as our reference list. The important information it carries is either a reference to Stace, to the WFS diary or to Kent or one of its supplements. Looking at this column will tell you whether a plant is part of our reference list for the Wild Flower Society.


These shorthands refer to whether the plant is regarded as Native (N), a Neophyte (Ne), an Archeophyte (Ar) or a Casual Alien (Ca). Many have no accepted status so the column is left blank. The allocations of plants to these categories should not be taken as definitive because it is quite difficult to determine with certainty whether or not a plant is Native. The status of some plants previously though of as Native e.g. Fritillaria meleagris (Fritillary) is now doubted by some botanists but that doubt is disputed (hotly!) by others. This column is therefore ripe for amendment and discussion.

A Native plant is one which has been growing in the area without being introduced by man usually for many thousands of years. It includes naturally occurring hybrids even if those have only recently been discovered.

An Archeophyte is an established plant believed to have been introduced by man before 1500 AD.

A Neophyte has been introduced and naturalised after 1500 AD.

A Casual alien is a plant which grows in an area without being planted but fails to establish itself in the wild for very long.


The person who introduced the plant to the botanical world is usually quoted in shorthand after the name. This is known as the Authority and there are rules for how this is done and abbreviated. Very often the name is the same as that allocated to the plant by Linnaeus (L.) but a plant like Pilosella officinarum (Mouse-ear Hawkweed) has been the subject of so much revision that the history of Authorities is half a page long (Page 244 in Kent's book). Attributing the correct authority and abbreviating the names according to the rules is a study of its own and so quite a few of the entries in the supplements are changes to the Authority but not to the status of the plant as one included on the list. It is quite possible to look up an authority on one database such as IPNI and find that it contradicts another such as Tela Botanica.

Record No

This is the official record number for a plant which appears on the official check lists which botanists use when recording data for their county or 10 km square. It does not appear on the Kent list but is very important to BSBI for the records and mapping databases.

Something about Browsers

A browser is the programme, often supplied with your computer's operating system, which allows you to see internet pages. Internet Explorer is the most popular and best known of these but is not either the fastest or the safest. Shortly Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) will be available for people with Windows 7 but not for many people who still use the (very old) Windows XP. Yet only IE9 is both fast, safe and compliant with modern web standards. These pages are written compliant with the latest web standards and would be best viewed with Firefox, Chrome, Safari or even Opera which are internet browsers that can be downloaded and installed easily. The pages will work with Internet Explorer versions but not as well.

There is so much information in the lists that they are best viewed with a monitor having a resolution of 1024 x 768 or preferably higher. The old 800 x 600 is not recommended as the user will have to scroll the lists sideways and up and down to read them.

Recommendation for PC users: Best viewed with Firefox at 1280 x 1024.



Peter Llewellyn 1st November 2010, 9th November 2010, Nov 25th 2010

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