[Species Conservation and Research Program]

Introduction   |   Using the Database   |   Contents & Summation   |
Development of Database

Source of Data – William A. McAvoy, Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife, .

The Flora of Delaware Online Database is a web-based reference containing basic information on the status, habitat, and distribution of plants in Delaware.  The database contains a wealth of information about each species listed and is available to planners, wildlife and land managers, stewardship ecologists, restoration ecologists, research biologists, landscapers, naturalists, educators, and home gardeners to name a few.  The database will serve as a valuable resource – bringing together information that will provide answers to the questions most asked about plant life in our state. For example, the database will help the restoration ecologist develop a list of plants appropriate for a wetland restoration site located in the Coastal Plain province of the state.  Or it can provide a northern Delaware homeowner or landscaper with a list of native perennial wildflowers that grow in the Piedmont province of the state.  The database also denotes species that are non-native and invasive in the state – important information for determining which species to avoid in plantings or restoration projects.  Furthermore, the conservation status will tell the reader which species are locally rare, uncommon, historical (not seen in more than 20 years), extirpated (gone forever due to irreplaceable losses in habitat), globally rare or federally protected. In summary, The Flora of Delaware Online Database will have wide-ranging applications from botanical and wildlife research to inventory, restoration, landscape planning, education, and beyond.  [go to the database]

Using the Database

Using the online database is relatively self-explanatory and intuitive. There is the basic Search option, with and additional Habitats search option. Each search is tailored to a particular end-user or purpose.

Search – Search options are intended to help focus on the information most important to a user. A set of “pick lists” are provided to gain access to the plants database, while text blocks, check boxes and radio buttons are used to narrow your search based on desired criteria. Once a selection is made, the search is executed, and a basic set of information about the plant or plants is displayed.

Habitats Search — Allows the user to select several different habitat types, such as Beach and Dune habitats, or Fresh Water Tidal Wetlands. The results of a Habitat search will give a list of species that are most commonly found within that habitat in the state of Delaware. The user can then select any of those species within the list to get more detailed information about that species.

For the user’s convenience, links to the following pages are provided that define and explain the use of these elements: State/Global/Federal/North Atlantic Region Status Ranks, Synopsis of the Flora, Coefficient of Conservatism Values, Wetland Indicator Status, Source of Data and Citation Information and Image Use, and Sources for Meanings, Derivations of Scientific Names and Medicinal Properties. In addition, a Glossary of Terms is also provided that define specific terms associated with the database. A list of Excluded Plants can also be found that informs the user of species that have been attributed to the state of Delaware in the past but are now excluded from the state’s flora. Finally, a method to determine Forest Habitat Value is provided that can be used to identify forests, or areas of a forest that have high habitat value, which in turn can be used in conservation efforts.

Contents & Summation

Currently, the database contains well-over 2,000 species, subspecies, and varieties (taxa), of native and non-native vascular plants known to occur in the state of Delaware. A full synopsis of the flora of Delaware in table format can be found on the Main Database Page under DocumentationThe Flora of Delaware Online Database is a revision of The Flora of Delaware, an annotated checklist, authored by William A. McAvoy and Karen A. Bennett and published in book form in 2001 by the Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Species Conservation and Research Program.

Scientific names are based on a variety of sources and the primary author of this database accepts full responsibility for taxonomic and nomenclatural decisions.  Subspecies or varieties are recognized only where justified.  Common names are derived from local usage, as well as from a variety of published and unpublished sources.  Hopes are that common names, as listed in the database, will become the standard for the State of Delaware. Synonymous names listed are those that the primary author feels are necessary for clarification.  No attempt was made to include full synonymy.  Taxa at the level of forma are not recognized, and hybrids are not included in the flora. However, forms and hybrids are discussed in the species descriptions were relevant.

The brief habitat descriptions that are given are based on the primary author’s personal knowledge, as well as on consultation with knowledgeable individuals, and various literature sources.


Development of the Database

As mentioned above, The Flora of Delaware Online Database is a revision of The Flora of Delaware, an annotated checklist, published in 2001. In this revision, nomenclature, conservation status, state and county distributions, and habitat descriptions have all been updated. Furthermore, much more information pertaining to the ecology and life history of each species listed has also been included, and many new species have been added to the flora since the 2001 publication. Digital images are also incorporated in the database and over time, our goal is to post an image of the entire known flora. In a partnership with the University of Delaware, the online database was created by Andrew Homsey (Institute for Public Administration, Water Resource Agency). Andrew’s impressive skills and the time and effort he put into constructing the online database are greatly appreciated.

The flora of the state, as listed here, has been fully vouchered with specimens, both historical and modern-day collections.  Only vascular plants that reproduce spontaneously and persist for one year or more without cultivation, including native, non-native, naturalized and non-indigenous species are included in this database. Source data (i.e., specimens, literature citations, etc.) are available upon request.

Questions, comments, and corrections regarding the floristic content of the database are encouraged and can be submitted to:

William A. McAvoy, Botanist
Species Conservation and Research Program
Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife
6180 Hay Point Landing Rd.
Smyrna, De 19977
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