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Potentilla, Salix, Viola and Eleocharis Updates to the Vascular Plant List – the Importance of Using Current Taxonomic Keys
January 26, 2017

The SKCDC strives to keep its species lists up to date with the latest accepted taxonomic changes. Four groups that have undergone significant changes and have been updated on the Vascular Plant List are the Potentilla (following the Flora of North America, 2014), Salix (following the Flora of Saskatchewan's Conifers & Catkin-bearing Trees and Shrubs of Saskatchewan, 2016), Viola (following the Flora of North America, 2015) and Eleocharis (following the Flora of North America, 2002). Users can view the Vascular Plant List to see the updated names and ranks for these groups.

Crataegus has also undergone a great deal of change and users may notice that the SKCDC plant list does not reflect these changes. This genus, as well as a few other species of interest, is currently being reviewed by the Botanical Assessment Working Group.

It should be noted that when users are identifying plants in the field (and subsequently submitting data to the SKCDC), the most recent taxonomic keys should be used to determine species identification in order to avoid confusion. The Flora of North America, where volumes have been recently published, is generally considered to be the most updated, accepted information. Many field biologists continue to use their favorite old keys in the field rather than the most current ones and this can cause issues for the quality control of the data. It is appreciated when users fill out the "Identification Source" and "Taxon Name Used in Identification Source" fields in the Species Detection Loadform when submitting observations so that staff can be sure of the intended species identification, otherwise, extra follow up may be needed.

Here are some examples of relatively recent changes (in the SKCDC database) that may cause confusion:


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