News - January 28, 2016

Nova Flora Neerlandica in the pipeline

Roelof Kleis

A new flora for the Netherlands is being drawn up. The driving force behind the reference work in 25 parts is Professor Joop Schaminée. The Nova Flora Neerlandica is intended as the first comprehensive and critical flora for the country. The plan was launched at natural history museum Naturalis in Leiden during the jubilee celebrations of the 170-year-old Royal Dutch Botanical Society (KNBV).

‘You have these kinds of reference book all over Europe but for our country there is nothing yet, actually’ says Schaminée. ‘There is the Heukels, but that only runs to 400 pages. It contains only one species of blackberry, for example, whereas there are 200 different species in the country.’

KNBV chair Schaminée and his colleagues are aiming high. They want a scientific, critical flora with an introductory volume, 12 volumes of text and twelve volumes of pictures. The first parts will see the light in about five years’ time. The kick-off will be next year and many tens of authors will be involved. The series will be published by the KNBV Association for Field Biology.

Pictures will play a key role in the new flora. Each textbook is accompanied by a visual counterpart consisting entirely of photos. Every species gets a page of its own in high quality paper, where all its characteristic parts are illustrated. There is a need for such a work, says Schaminee. ‘If you Google for a particular plant you usually only get a lot of photos of the flower. You don’t see the leaves, the stem, the hairs, roots and seeds.

A conscious decision was made too opt for a flora in book form even in this digital age, says Schaminée.‘People like paper, and are used to working with field guides and flora.’ Anyone interested in the contents of the books can take a look on the website