African Plant Database

TA = Tropical Africa Area (EPFAT Area, country-based, south of the Sahara, complementary to the following)
SA = Southern Africa Area (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland)
NA = North Africa (Mauritania, Morocco, Canary Isl., Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Madeira)
MA = Madagascar (Malagasy Republic)

Statistics about plants names and species

The database currently comprises 202559 names with 77772 accepted .
Number of accepted taxons are:
35393 taxons for TA area (including introduced taxons)
24659 taxons for SA area (including introduced taxons)
9402 taxons for NA (including Macaronesia).
12812 taxons for MA area (including introduced taxons)

Origin of data, updates

  • For TA, only part of ecological and distribution data are currently available, corresponding to the families published in the 1-4 volumes of Lebrun & Stork's "Tropical African Flowering Plants: Ecology and Distribution". Information from future volumes will be incorporated as they are published.
  • For SA, all ecology and distribution data are available.
  • For NA, biological information on species is not currently available, but will be incorpored later.
  • For MA, core data is provided and updated regulary from Madagascar Catalogue, users are invited to consult this online for the most up-to-date information, distribution maps and images.
  • List of Families with recent update

Incorporation of species from the Guinean Gulf islands (Sao Tomé, Bioko, Annobon, Principe) is in process, in collaboration with Lisbon Botanical Garden. Incorporation of data from Cape Verde and the East African Islands (Zanzibar, Socotra) is planned.

Data will be updated on a regular basis, following the literature. Any missing information or corrections are most welcome (see front page for contact info).

Tropical Africa southern african plants Madagascar catalogue

flores afrique

The main floras of continental Africa and Madagascar

Madagascar data:

The Flore de Madagascar et des Comores series, published by the Paris Museum has treated 165 of the 222 traditionally recognised plant families (75%) in Madagascar. The first part, Aponogetonaceae, appeared in 1936, and most of the other published volumes appeared during the following 30 years. Full or partial taxonomic treatments for genera in some of the outstanding families have been published subsequently elsewhere (notably in the journal Adansonia) and also some excellent detailed monographs (such as for the legumes and palms) are available. Our knowledge of the flora of Madagascar is thus advancing steadily. However, many of the treatments in earlier volumes are now badly outdated and are of little use today and some genera has never been treated and so many are in urgent need of taxonomic revision.

The Catalogue of Vascular Plants of Madagascar represents a synthesis of published data on the flora of Madagascar and an analysis of the current status of the taxonomy of every genus and an estimate of the number of undescribed species. It comprises a browseable and searchable database, freely available online (, that includes taxonomic data, images, vernacular names and conservation status for vascular plants occurring naturally in Madagascar. A printed catalogue is envisaged.

Accepted standards names /Discrepancies

  • Genera: "Index Nominum Genericorum" ING (Farr et al. 1979, 1986) is accepted as standard.
  • Epithets: we refer to the original publication, and apply IBC if necessary.
  • Authors: "Authors of plant names" (Brummitt & Powel, 1992) is accepted as standard. Discrepancies often arise because of different origins of the data. Consulting the original publication or simply applying the nomenclatural code helped to solve these discrepancies. Most of the remaining discrepancies originated from the interpretation of "ex" in authors.

Family concept, attribution of genera to families. We primarily decided to follow the family circumscription of "Vascular Plants Families and Genera" (Brummitt, 1992). Following subsequent works at family level, discrepancies arose between FSA and EPFAT. If no consensus could be reached, both views are presented. [MADCAT according to APGIII]

Generic concept, attribution of species to genera, synonyms: Since all four lists rely on treatments that are often limited geographically, it is clear that in several cases of shared taxa, there is no general consensus on which name is current, and which is a synonym. The present work does not pretend to solve these discrepancies, and the outputs are designed to reflect diverging taxonomic views in parallel, pointing out areas for future taxonomic research.

Infraspecific level. There is only one (optional) infraspecific level, which can be either subspecies, variety, subvariety or forma. Nevertheless, merging the four lists has also revealed an immense area of discrepancies at the infraspecific level. These include:
•    Species subdivided into infraspecifics in one list, but not in the other.
•    Species subdivided at a different level, e.g. subspecies vs. varieties.
Once more, the outputs are designed to present both views, waiting for a future taxonomic treatment to solve these issues.
For NA, the status of variety is usually not mentioned; in many cases it needs more study. All these varieties are linked to the upper infraspecific level or to the species.

Distribution maps

The distribution points are of two distinct types:

1. Validated data (red dots) by the APD project showing the main distributions in regions or countries and not all of the existing observations.
  • For the Tropical area, data are extracted from the maps published in Lebrun & Stork's "Tropical African Flowering Plants: Ecology and Distribution". The dots on these original maps correspond mainly to citation of species in the literature. The reference maps are 6 x 6 cm, thus precision of these dots is roughly +/- 2° latitude and longitude. Accordingly, we represent these points by a large dot. No map is available at infraspecific level!
  • For the Southern Africa area, data are mainly extracted from the PRECIS database and represent herbarium collections, databased on grids of quarter-degree squares (approximately 25 x 25 km). Dots are generally more numerous and more precise in location than fir TA. We represent them using a smaller dot.
  • For the North Africa area, data are extracted from Dobignard checklist based on North African floras. Dots correspond to presence in a country.
  • For the Madagascar area, we display only presence by a symbol. Detailed distribution data can be obtained from the Madagascar Catalogue for every species.
2. All observations and herbarium samples with the most accurate location possible, but not validated by the APD project. This data comes from collaborations with different external projects.
  • African data from the National Herbarium of the Netherlands (Naturalis), more than 300'000 collections with a very high precision , thanks to the collaboration of Jan Wieringa.
  • Ivory Coast collections (76'000), from the SIG-IVOIRE project which was published in Boissiera 64 (2011). They concern almost all data collected in Côte d'Ivoire since the beginning of the century.
  • Rainbio project data. A compilation of extensive "public" databases of several herbaria (BR, BRLU, K, LISC, MO and WAG (including AMD, L and U) .With the data set received from RAINBIO, we have removed all data from Naturalis and Côte d'Ivoire, as they are already contained in APD, so the addition concerns only 174'000 occurrences for mapping The collaboration with WAG has been one of the most dynamic since the start of the APD project. Reference: Dauby, R.Z & al. (2016) RAINBIO: a mega-database of tropical African vascular plants distributions, PhytoKeys, 74: 1-18.
  • Data from the FLOTROP project covering the Sahel region, studied by the pasture development projects of CIRAD-IEMVT, between 1920 and 2012. The data concern 8800 taxa and 440'000 occurrences. But beware, samples and observations are not necessarily validated. Reference: Gaston A. & P. Daget (2001). The FLOTROP database and the inventory of the flora of the pastures of Sahelian Africa. Systematics and Geography of Plants, 71, 337-344.
  • Project data North Africa. These are observations from the work of Peter Frankenberg (University of Bonn) and another part of herbarium specimens from the Maghreb Flore project, including the types of the Montpellier herbarium (MPU) and information from the HERBONAUTES of Paris, and many collections
Only APD data are validated (red dots), other sources of data (small dots), by their very large number, can not be verified as a whole, they are therefore presented for information.

Map of the main phytogeographical units (following White 1983, simplified) Boundaries of the three areas and example of distribution map (Cleome gynandra L. )
phyto limite aire
Map of African countries Map of Southern African countries (and provinces for South Africa)
pays d'Afrique FSA
South African provinces: WC: Western Cape, EC: Eastern Cape, NC: Northern Cape, FS: Free State, LIM: Limpopo, MP: Mpumalanga, KN: KwaZulu-Natal, GA: Gauteng, NW: North-West.


Checklist of sub-saharan Africa was published by SANBI
Klopper & al. Klopper & al. Klopper & al. Klopper & al. Klopper & al. Klopper & al. Klopper & al. Klopper & al.
  • Klopper, R., L. Gautier, C. Chatelain, Smith, G. and R. Spichiger. (2007). Floristics of the angiosperm flora of Sub-Saharan Africa: an analysis of the African Plant Checklist and Database. Taxon 56: 201-208.

  • Klopper, R., C. Chatelain, V. Banninger, C. Habashi, H.M. Steyn, C. de Wet, T.H. Arnold, L. Gautier, G.F. Smith & R. Spichiger (2006). Checklist of the flowering plants of Sub-Saharan Africa. An index of accepted names and synonyms. SABONET Report No. 42, Pretoria 900 pp.

  • Lebrun J.-P. & A. Stork (2003). Tropical african Flowering plants. Ecology and distribution. vol.1 Annonaceae-Balanitaceae. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève. hors série 9.,793 pp.

  • Lebrun J.-P. & A. Stork (2006). Tropical african Flowering plants. Ecology and distribution. vol.2 Euphorbiaceae-Dichapetalaceae. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève. hors série 9a., 306 pp.

  • Lebrun J.-P. & A. Stork (2008). Tropical african Flowering plants. Ecology and distribution. vol.3 Mimosaceae-Fabaceae. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève. hors série., 325 pp.

  • Lebrun J.-P. & A. Stork (2008). Tropical african Flowering plants. Ecology and distribution. vol.4 Fabaceae (desmodium-Zornia). Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève. hors série., 291 pp.

  • Phillipson, P.B., G.E. Schatz, P.P. Lowry II & J.-N. Labat 2006. A catalogue of the vascular plants of Madagascar pp. 613-627. In: S.A. Ghazanfar & H.J. Beentje (eds) 2006. Taxonomy and Ecology of African Plants, their Conservation and Sustainable Use. Proceedings of the 17th AETFAT Congress, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

  • Dobignard, A. & C. Chatelain (2010). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du Nord. Vol.1, Pterydophyta, Gymnospermae, Monocotyledoneae. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, hors-série 11.

  • Dobignard, A. & C. Chatelain (2011). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du Nord. Vol.2, Dicotyledonae, Acanthaceae à Asteraceae. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, hors-série 11a.

  • Dobignard, A. & C. Chatelain (2011). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du Nord. Vol.3, Dicotyledonae, Balsaminaceae à Euphorbiaceae. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, hors-série 11b.

  • Lebrun J.-P. & A. Stork (2011). Tropical african Flowering plants. Ecology and distribution. vol.6 Burseraceae-Apiaceae and Addendum vol.1. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève. hors série.

  • Lebrun J.-P. & A. Stork (2012). Tropical African flowering Plants Ecology and Distribution. vol. 7. Monocotyledons 1,(Limnocharitaceae - Agavaceae). Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, hors-série 9f.

  • Dobignard, A. & C. Chatelain (2012) Index synonymique de la Flore d'Afrique du nord. Vol. 4: Dicotyledonae: Fabaceae à Nymphaeaceae. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, hors-série 11c.

  • Dobignard, A. & C. Chatelain (2013) Index synonymique de la Flore d'Afrique du nord. Vol. 5: Dicotyledonae: Oleaceae-Zygophyllaceae. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, hors-série 11d.

  • Lebrun J.-P. & A. Stork (2014). Tropical african Flowering plants. Ecology and distribution. vol. 8. Monocotyledons 2 (Anthericaceae-Palmae). Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, hors-série.

  • Lebrun J.-P. & A. Stork (2015). Tropical african Flowering plants. Ecology and distribution. vol. 9. Orchidaceae (A-G). Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève, hors-série.


If you want to link or query your data with a APD record, you can set up a OpenURL link :<NAME_to_FIND>&efFamille=<FAMILY_To_FIND>&projet%5B%5D=FSA&projet%5B%5D=FTA &projet%5B%5D=FNA&projet%5B%5D=BDM&langue=en&pbRecherche=Rechercher

Then use our logo to make the link
Exemple : with only a specie name (without family): mahonii&efFamille=&projet%5B%5D=FSA&projet%5B%5D=FTA&projet%5B%5D=FNA&projet%5B%5D=BDM &langue=fr&pbRecherche=Rechercher


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