• Using Global Plants




    Basic Search: Available on the home page, allowing users to do a quick search, with option to narrow down by types of objects (names, names with synonyms, people, and places).


    Advanced Searching: In order to see additional search options, click on “Advanced Search” link from the home page. From there, you will be able to search across variety of fields:


    Biological Classification


    Family: Rank in the biological taxonomy of all organisms


    Genus: A group of similar species in the biological classification


    Specific Epithet:  The label (or designation) of a particular species in the binomial nomenclature system


    Infraspecific Epithet: The part of the name with the lowest or most specific rank


    Plant Name Author: Plant name author refers to the author of a scientific name. For a list of plant name authors, see the International Plant names Index.

    Collector:  For specimens, the person who collected the specimen, followed by the collector number, if available

    Collection Number: Refers to the number assigned to the specimen by the senior or primary collector


    Year Range (From, To): The Year field provides information about when the material was created, collected or published, depending on the resource type. This information can vary considerably depending on the quality of the submitted metadata




    Country: Enter the ISO code and/or the Country name


    Locality: Refers to any location data supplied with the material in addition to the Country field. The locality field is optional and therefore varies considerably depending on the quality of the contributed metadata. For example, a locality field may be "Hispaniola I.. . Near San Lorenzo Bay, S Coast of Samana Bay


    Herbarium Code: Acronym identifying the herbarium from which the specimen originated.



    Herbarium Name: Name identifying the herbarium from which the specimen originated.





    Refers to types of specimens: epitype, holotype, etc.




    Title refers to the name of the object as provided by the contributing institution; the title varies across resource types. For example, the title of a specimen can be "Isotype of Altensteinia inaeqialis Rchb. f [family ORCHIDACEAE]", while the title of a painting can be "'Baobab near the bank of the Lue'; oil on canvas.".


    Resource Type


    All materials are classified by resource type based on the use and purpose of the original physical material.


    Understanding Search Results


    On the search results page you can sort your search or browse results by several criteria (Title, Taxonomy, Author, Resource Type or Date).

    Many results will be grouped according to the Scientific Name with additional information that might be of interest to your research. This additional information will only be visible in the Taxonomy sort option. To learn more about the Scientific Name, click “Scientific Name” to see related scientific information.

  • Using Compilation Pages

    Some search results contain the link “View Compilation” page. A compilation page is a summary or index page which pulls together a variety of resources from the database related to the particular plant name or taxon. These materials can include type specimens, flora records, illustrations and paintings as well as field notebooks and correspondence, and links to relevant journal content and primary sources from resources such as JSTOR and the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Compilation pages are dynamically created and updated on a daily basis, and are a great way to easily access materials related to a particular plant. 



  • Working with Content


    Plant specimens, illustrations, photographs, paintings


    High resolution images: In order to view high resolution images for individual items, click on the image thumbnail for that item, or choose "Open Viewer." The viewer has powerful functionality including:


    Zooming: Use the tools at the bottom of the viewer window to zoom in (+), out (-), and reset to original view.


    Panning: Click on the image and drag to move. You can also drag the image in the preview window.


    Rotate: Click the Rotate dropdown at the top of the page to open a rotated view of the image on screen


    Measure: Click the Measure tool, then click and drag along the desired length on the displayed graphic.             



    Metadata section: The middle of the page provides descriptive metadata. Not all items will have complete metadata records. A list of possible metadata fields is listed below. Metadata is linked when possible, so it's easy to browse other items in the same collection or from the same herbarium.


    Glossary of Metadata Terms


    Collection altitude: For specimens, the altitude of the location where the specimen was collected.


    Collection date:  For specimens, the date on which the specimen was collected.


    Collection name: The collection within Global Plants where the material resides (you can use this to browse and find materials in Global Plants).


    Collector:  For specimens, the person who collected the specimen, followed by the collector number, if available.


    Common names: The names of the taxon in the vernacular. Usually shown with a language identifier (for example, English: baobab; monkey-bread tree; sour gourd; cream of tartar tree).


    Contributor: For database information, the institution or individual contributing the data.


    Country or Country name: The country of origin (in the case of specimens, the country where the specimen was collected)


    Creator: For documents that have been published, the author. For example, while a book has one or more authors, a photograph may have one or more photographers, and a specimen has a single author of the scientific plant name.


    Data last modified: The date on which the data in Global Plants was last changed for this material.


    Date: The creation or publication date of the material.


    Description: The description field in the material's metadata.


    Entry from: For database information, identifies the original publication, volume, and author(s) (for example, FZ =Flora Zambesiaca).


    Herbarium: This field contains the name and the acronym identifying the herbarium from which the specimen originated.


    Identifications: For specimens, the botanical identification information (from labels and additional notations on the specimen).


    Identifiers: For visual materials, an unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context.


    Information: For database information, a short portion of the text of the entry (shown on the Results List). View the metadata page to see the entire entry in the Description field.


    Language: The language of the document. The Global Plants digital library contains documents in several original languages (English, Afrikaans, French, Portuguese, and so forth).


    Locality: Any location data supplied with the material.


    Place: Geographical information, as available in the material's metadata. In the African Plants content area, many materials may be encoded with either a location of distribution or a location where collected.


    Plant name: The scientific name.


    Plant name author: The author of the scientific name. For a list of plant name authors, see the International Plant Names Index



    Plant part: For visual materials, the part of the plant that was photographed/illustrated. o References—For database information, the references as printed in the published version.


    Relation: A reference to a related resource.


    Repository: The partner from which Global Plants received the material, often followed by the barcode, especially for specimens.


    Resource Type: The categorization of this material, such as specimen, book, article, painting, drawing, photograph, and so forth. Note that this might be implied rather than being displayed directly.


    Rights: Information about rights held in and over the resource. If marked "unknown" then the rights are assumed to lie with the creator and/or the repository.


    Source: A combination of collection and repository information.


    Title: This is the text shown as the title for all views of the material in Global Plants. For specimens, the scientific name is shown with additional explanatory text, such as Filed As, Type, or similar.


    Uses: For an entry from a Uses publication, the categories of usage applied to this plant.


    Downloading PDF files: Choose "PDF" from the action box to download/print/save an item image along with its metadata.

  • Saving your work with a MyAccount

    This functionality is being improved and will be inaccessible until early 2015. Please email support@jstor.org if you have any questions.
  • Information for Librarians


    Access methods



    IP authentication: Our most common and secure method of access is IP authentication. When a user is authenticated by IP address, he is automatically recognized as an authorized user from your institution, making for a seamless experience.


    Proxies: You are welcome to allow users to access Global Plants via a proxy server, so long as access to the proxy server is restricted to authorized users at your institution. Read more information about proxy servers, and our policies regarding them. In order to enable a proxy server for your institution, please submit the specific IP address for the proxy server to JSTOR Support.


    Username/Password: Although not recommended as the primary method of authentication, it is an option for institutions with limited technical infrastructure or IT resources.


    Usage Statistics reports



    Access to usage data:  Currently, usage statistics for Global Plants are only available upon request. Please send the request, including the report type and years needed to participation@jstor.org.


    Reports available:


    Database Report 1 (DB1): Total Searches, Result Clicks and Record Views by Month and Database
    Database Report 2 (DB2): Access Denied by Month, Database and Category


  • Information for Partners

    To find tools for using and promoting Global Plants, visit our Partner Resources page.