DATABASE: Web Haven for Imperiled Plants

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Science  18 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5631, pp. 285
DOI: 10.1126/science.301.5631.285a

The smooth coneflower (Echinacea laevigata) was never abundant, but now it's confined to 23 populations in forest clearings across five states. It's one of many plant species in the southeastern United States that are losing out to human meddling, invasive weeds, or other threats. At SERPIN, a new taxonomic and conservation database, everyone from botany students to land managers can harvest information on the region's rare plants. Sponsored by a consortium of southeastern institutions, the site encompasses all state or federally listed species that grow in Georgia, the Carolinas, and northern and central Florida. The entry for each species supplies data on classification, habitat, and conservation status in each state, along with a bibliography. You can also find out which botanical gardens, herbaria, and other collections harbor specimens and which researchers are studying the plant.

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