South African National Plant Checklist Policy

In order to ensure that the SANBI checklist of southern African plants provides the most up-to-date information, it must be regularly maintained. Documented and consistently-implemented policy and procedures for the maintenance of national checklists are critical to ensure that all contributors and users understand the rationale for the inclusion of data and for changes and additions made, and also to ensure that there is some degree of standardisation across taxa in terms of the approach to updating. The procedures ensure transparency about how changes are made and who is responsible. A policy for national checklist maintenance is necessary to ensure consistency and credibility in decision-making relating to the checklist.

One higher-level classification system will be used for each phylum in the checklist and adhered to in its entirety. The following classification systems were chosen for the different groups of plants (click on the name of the group to view a list of families and genera arranged according to the chosen classification system):

Angiosperms: Angiosperm Phylogeny Group [APG] II system, using the bracketed families

Gymnosperms: Christenhusz et al. in Phytotaxa 19: 55–70 (2011)

Ferns and lycophytes: Christenhusz et al. in Phytotaxa 19: 7–54 (2011) and corrections made in Phytotaxa 28: 50–52 (2011)

Mosses, liverworts and hornworts: Missouri Botanical Garden’s TROPICOS database, and the following phylogenetic classification systems:

  • Bryophyta (mosses): Goffinet et al., Morphology and classification of the Bryophyta, in Goffinet & Shaw (eds.) Bryophyte Biology 2nd edition: 55–138 (2008). And subsequent updates as published on
  • Anthocerotophyta (hornworts): Suprageneric classification: Duff et al. in The Bryologist, 110: 214-243 (2007) and Stotler & B. Crandall-Stotler in The Bryologist 108: 16-26 (2005). Generic classification: Renzaglia et al., New insights into morphology, anatomy and systematics of hornworts, in Goffinet & Shaw (eds.) Bryophyte Biology 2nd edition: 139–172 (2008).  And subsequent updates as published on
  • Marchantiophyta (liverworts): Crandall-Stotler et al. in Edinburgh Journal of Botany 66: 155–198 (2009). And subsequent updates as published on

For further information please email: R Klopper

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