Introduction


The present portal organizes nomenclatural and distributional data from the recent checklists of the Italian native and alien vascular plants (and their subsequent updatings), with links to resources from other projects.
The publication of the checklist of the Italian vascular flora (Conti et al., 2005) was the first opportunity in which the members of the Working Group for Floristics, Systematics and Evolution of the Italian Botanical Society established an effective network of scientific collaborations. During the years, this collaborative approach has been refined and implemented, allowing to reach important scientific goals dealing with the flora alien to Italy (Celesti-Grapow et al., 2009, 2010), and with the Italian endemic flora (Peruzzi et al., 2015; Brundu et al., 2017). The synthesis by Conti et al. (2005) stimulated an impressive amount of floristic and systematic studies, so that – after 13 years – time was ripe for an update concerning the taxonomic and geographic knowledge on the Italian vascular flora.
Two separate lists were published in 2018: one concerning the native (including cryptogenic or doubfully native) vascular flora (Bartolucci et al., 2018a), the other concerning the alien taxa (archaeophytes and neophytes) (Galasso et al., 2018a).
Both checklists came to an end thanks to the close cooperation of more than 50 authors, coordinated by Fabrizio Bartolucci and Fabio Conti from the University of Camerino, Gabriele Galasso from the Natural History Museum of Milano, and Lorenzo Peruzzi from the University of Pisa.
A few months after the publication of the checklists, thanks to Project Dryades of the University of Trieste (Nimis & Martellos, 2009; Martellos & Nimis, 2015), the nomenclatural, taxonomical and distributional data from the checklists, with their subsequent updatings published by Bartolucci et al. (2018b) and Galasso et al. (2018b) were organised into a database and made accessible online in the present portal, which also includes automatic links to other resources from Project Dryades and Acta Plantarum. The portal will be periodically updated twice a year, and will be progressively enriched with automatic links to further resources, such as local databases, and the Wikiplantbase initiatives (Bagella et al., 2015; Peruzzi & Bedini, 2015; Barberis & al., 2016; Domina & al., 2016).


The data

Taxa at varietal rank and hybrids were not considered.
The Italian endemic status was attributed to those taxa occurring only in Italy, or in Italy and Corsica (France), or in Italy and Malta.
In order to recognise the taxa as non-native to Italy, the national standardized system developed by the research group who previously worked on this topic was used:
- casual: alien plants that may thrive and even produce offsprings occasionally outside cultivation, but that usually disappear because unable to form self-maintaining populations; their persistence rely on repeated introductions;
- naturalized: alien plants that occur with self-maintaining populations without direct human intervention;
- invasive: alien plants that occur with self-maintaining populations without direct human intervention, produce fertile offspring at considerable distances from the parent individuals, thus being able to spread over a large area;
- archaeophytes: alien plants introduced to Italy before 1492;
- neophytes: alien plants introduced to Italy after 1492.
Taxa involved in former domestication processes have been distinguished in two categories:
- culton: plant distinct from its wild relative(s) and capable to conserve its taxonomic independence in cultivation only; records from the wild are regarded as casual occurrences;
- feral: wild plant originated from a culton escaped from domestication and usually taxonomically distinct from the culton’s wild relative; it can either belong to the same taxon of the culton or belong to a different taxon.
The distribution data are given for each of the 20 administrative regions of Italy (not considering the two enclave-countries Republic of San Marino and Vatican City State). When the information concerning the distribution of a given subspecies for a region is missing, only the occurrence at species level was reported.
For each region, the occurrence status of each taxon is provided by using the following categories:
- Occurring.
- Doubtfully occurring.
- No longer recorded (reliable historical record).
- Extinct or possibly extinct.
- Recorded by mistake.
- Alien at regional and/or national level (Casual, Naturalized, Invasive, undefined invasion status).
- Italian endemic.
- Cryptogenic, i.e. a doubtfully native taxon, whose origin of occurrence in Italy is unknown.
- Taxonomically doubtful.
- Data deficient (unknown regional distribution; unknown alien staus) at national level.
- Archaeophyte.
- Neophyte.


Links to other resources

The portal also includes links to other resources which have harmonised their nomenclatural-taxonomical data with those of the checklists.
The main automatic links available in this version are:
1) Pictures of plants, from the image archive of project Dryades (Responsible: Andrea Moro). See: http://dryades.units.it/cercapiante/index.php
2) Cladograms following APG IV (2016), Christenhusz et al. (2011a), Christenhusz et al. (2011b), Ran et al. (2010), Schuettpelz & Pryer (2008), and Smith et al. (2006), from Project Dryades (prepared by Elena Pittao).
3) The thesaurus of Italian names of Project Dryades, largely based on those proposed by Pignatti (1982), and especially by Penzig (1924).
4) Links to resources created by Acta Plantarum, one of the most active groups of amateur botanists in Italy, including further pictures, altitudinal distribution, growth forms, etc.

References

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