Flora of Delaware Introduction

[Species Conservation and Research Program]

Introduction   |   Using the Database   |   Contents & Summation   |
Development of Database

Source of Data – William A. McAvoy, Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife, .

The Flora of Delaware Online Database is a web-based reference containing basic information on the status, habitat, and distribution of plants in Delaware.  The database contains a wealth of information about each species listed and is available to planners, wildlife and land managers, stewardship ecologists, restoration ecologists, research biologists, landscapers, naturalists, educators, and home gardeners to name a few.  The database will serve as a valuable resource – bringing together information that will provide answers to the questions most commonly posed about plant life in our state. For example, the database will help the restoration ecologist develop a list of plants appropriate for a wetland restoration site located in the Coastal Plain province of the state.  Or, it can provide a northern Delaware homeowner or landscaper with a list of native perennial wildflowers that grow in the Piedmont province of the state.  The database also denotes species that are non-native and invasive in the state – important information for determining which species to avoid in plantings or restoration projects.  Furthermore, the conservation status will tell the reader which species are locally rare, uncommon, historical (not seen in more than 20 years), extirpated (gone forever due to irreplaceable losses in habitat), globally rare or federally protected. In summary, The Flora of Delaware Online Database will have wide-ranging applications from botanical and wildlife research, to inventory, restoration, landscape planning, education, and beyond. [go to the database]

Using the Database

Using the online database is relatively self-explanatory and intuitive. There are four levels of search categories: Quick Search, Gardeners, Consultants, and Botanists, with and additional search option, Habitats. Each search is tailored to a particular end-user or purpose.  In general, each level adds more search options and resultant information about each species.

Quick Search– A set of “pick lists” are shown. Once a selection is made, the search is executed, and a basic set of information about the plant or plants is displayed (e.g., Scientific Name, Common Name, Conservation Status, and Habitat).

Gardeners– Aimed at the homeowner or landscape designer to help in the selection of plants suitable to specific garden environments based on personal preferences.

Consultants– Intended for restoration ecologists, land managers, and government regulators. This search will provide useful information related to habitat restoration, management and protection.

Botanists– Primarily intended for research purposes, this level offers information on taxonomy, life history, ecology, and status and distribution.

Habitats Search — Allows the user to select a number of different habitat types, such as Beach and Dune habitats, or Fresh Water Tidal Wetlands. The results of a Habitat search will give a list of species that are typically found within that habitat in the state of Delaware. The user can then select any of those species within the list to get more detailed information about that species.

For the user’s convenience, links to the following pages are provided that define and explain the use of these elements: State/Global/Federal Status Ranks, Synopsis of the Flora, Coefficient of Conservatism Ranks, Wetland Indicator Status, Source of Data and Citation Information and Image Use, and Sources for Meanings, Derivations of Scientific Names and Medicinal Properties. In addition, a Glossary of Terms is also provided that define specific terms associated with the database. Finally, a list of Excluded Plants can also be found that informs the user of species that have been attributed to the state of Delaware in the past, but are now excluded from the states flora.


Contents & Summation

Currently, the database contains over 2,000 species, subspecies, and varieties (taxa), of native and non-native vascular plants known to occur in the state of Delaware. A full synopsis of the flora of Delaware in table format can be found on the Main Database Page under Documentation. The Flora of Delaware Online Database is a revision of The Flora of Delaware, an annotated checklist, authored by William A. McAvoy and Karen A. Bennett and published in book form in 2001 by the Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program

Scientific names are based on a variety of sources and the primary author of this database accepts full responsibility for taxonomic and nomenclatural decisions.  Subspecies or varieties are recognized only where justified.  Common names are derived from local usage, as well as from a variety of published and unpublished sources.  Hopes are that common names, as listed in the database, will become the standard for the State of Delaware. Synonymous names listed are those that the primary author feels are necessary for clarification.  No attempt was made to include full synonymy.  Taxa at the level of forma are not recognized.

The brief habitat descriptions that are given are based on the primary author’s personal knowledge, as well as on consultation with knowledgeable individuals, and various literature sources.


Development of the Database

As mentioned above, The Flora of Delaware Online Database is a revision of The Flora of Delaware, an annotated checklist, published in 2001. In this revision, nomenclature, conservation status, state and county distributions, and habitat descriptions have all been updated. Furthermore, much more information pertaining to the ecology and life history of each species listed has also been included, and many new species have been added to the flora since the 2001 publication. Digital images are also incorporated in the database and over time, our goal is to post an image of the entire known flora. In a partnership with the University of Delaware, the online database was created by Andrew Homsey (Institute for Public Administration, Water Resource Agency). Andrew’s impressive skills and the time and effort he put into constructing the online database are greatly appreciated.

The native flora of the state, as listed here, has been fully vouchered with specimens, both historical and modern day collections.  The basis of the non-native flora of the state includes: voucher specimens, literature citations, the personal knowledge of the primary author, and observations by reliable, credible individuals.  Only vascular plants that reproduce spontaneously and persist for one year or more without cultivation, including native, non-native, naturalized and adventive species are included in this database. Source data (i.e., specimens, literature citations, etc.) are available upon request.

Questions, comments and corrections regarding the floristic content of the database are encouraged and can be submitted to:

William A. McAvoy, Botanist
Species Conservation and Research Program
Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife
4876 Hay Point Landing Rd.
Smyrna, De 19977