Importance of Documenting Rare Plant Collections

  • Photo of a seedling of sentry milkvetch

    Seedling of sentry milkvetch arising from seed augmentation at Grand Canyon National Park. Photo credit: Joyce Maschinski.

  • Photo of a conservationist documenting Quercus boytonii

    Emma Spence documents Quercus boytonii. Photo credit: Sean Hoban, Morton Arboretum.

  • Photo of Key Tree Cactus prostrate stem

    Young branch arising from Key Tree Cactus prostrate stem. Nov. 2006.

  • Photo of conservationist monitoring Phorodendron rubrum

    Janice Duquesnel, Florida State Parks, monitors Phorodendron rubrum in the Florida Keys. Photo credit: Joyce Maschinski.


Documentation is essential to represent the scientific and legal accuracy of our conservation collections. Several steps in the process ensure the optimal use of the conservation collection (see Overview). The rapidly improving information technology and bioinformatics fields are increasing the speed and convenience of data input and data sharing for both research and conservation actions. However, key to the efficacy of any database is timely input and ongoing updates from practitioners. All the great tools in the world will never surpass the knowledge of the individuals, who know rare plant species in their wild populations, in ex situ gardens, or in a reintroduction or conservation translocation. The Center for Plant Conservation encourages practitioners to use available tools to place valuable insights from an individual mind into a database where it may have uses far beyond the individual experience or time. The power of collectively shared and carefully documented data is enormous. With accurate data, we can help guide conservation actions to save more plants.

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Suggested Citation

Center for Plant Conservation. Importance of Documenting Rare Plant Collections in CPC Best Plant Conservation Practices to Support Species Survival in the Wild. Web Version. Accessed: 01/17/2021 - 6:07pm