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Botanical Garden Completes Mo. Plant Encyclopedia

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(Photo credit: Facebook.com)

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Missouri Botanical Garden has completed a 26-year effort to document the state’s extensive plant life.

The flora encyclopedia fills almost 1,400 pages and lists nearly 3,000 plants. It’s the third volume in a series started 50 years ago by the St. Louis research center. The state Department of Conservation collaborated on the project.

Each plant species is described in detail, with notes on taxonomy, distribution, plant uses and conservation issues.

It has an unwieldy title: “Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri, Volume 3. Dicots, Fabaceae (second part) through Zygophyllaceae.” It’s named for former plant scientist Julian Steyermark, who compiled the original one-volume dictionary.

Peter Wyse Jackson, the botanical garden’s president, said the project shows a local commitment by an institution better known for its global science programs.

Curator George Yatskievych, the project leader, said the compendium is not meant for amateur hobbyists.

“This is not a field guide,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s not a book of just pretty pictures. It may even be too much for some people.”

Instead, the book is intended as a resource for botanists, conservationists, scientists, land managers and planners. It will also help aid research in another Missouri Botanical Garden project, an effort to preserve the seeds of all the state’s native plants by 2020.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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