May 18, 2022

Research Tools: “Plants and the People Who Name Them: The International Plant Names Index and BHL”

From a Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) Blog Post by Grace Costantino:

At the end of the twentieth century, the The Royal Botanic Gardens, KewThe Harvard University Herbaria, and The Australian National Herbarium began collaboration on an ambitious project—to create an online index of names for all of the world’s vascular plants.

By combining the data in the nomenclatural indices of these three institutions—namely Index Kewensis, the Gray Card Index, and the Australian Plant Names Index—the collaboration created the International Plant Names Index (IPNI). Hosted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, today the database includes over 1.6 million records. As part of the provided nomenclatural information, IPNI includes bibliographic details linked to scanned literature in the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and links to taxonomic data through the Plants of the World Online.

Not surprisingly, given its role as a source of scanned literature for the Index, BHL is a vital resource for those working to build and maintain the IPNI database.

Learn More, Read the Complete Blog Post (approx. 1300 words)

Direct to Biodiversity Heritage Library

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.