The familial placement of genera for the ferns, fern allies, and gymnosperms follows that given in Flora of North America (1993, Vol. 2). The families for the flowering plants follow the treatment of Cronquist (1981) with two exceptions: the Hypericaceae and Lobeliaceae are accepted as families. In recent years there have been many studies demonstrating that several of the traditionally recognized families (especially Liliaceae, sensu lato) are polyphyletic and advocating that these large families should be broken up into smaller monophyletic families to better reflect their evolutionary history (Stevenson & Loconte, 1995). However, because this Checklist is designed for use by a variety of agencies, investigators, and other interested researchers throughout the state and nation, most of whom are not systematists, for convenience and ease of communication we have followed the more traditional circumscription of these families.
Accepted names of families, genera, species, subspecies (subsp.), varieties (var.), forms (f.) and cultivars (cv.) admitted to the Wisconsin flora are given in boldface with links to their detail page. Numerous minor morphological variants, such as albino forms, are not listed except in a few cases. Unnamed hybrids are indicated by the "X " sign between the names of their putative parental taxa; such hybrid formulas are in alphabetical order by the first parent. Hybrids with a published binomial are indicated with an "X " in front of the specific epithet. Parental species for named hybrid taxa are given as =Parental taxon 1 X P. taxon 2 under each such hybrid. Common names (if any) are listed alphabetically after the Latin name and its author(s). Synonymous names are listed below each taxon.
We have depended on several sources (some available electronically) to check the validity and accuracy of both accepted and synonymous names and their publishing authorities. These sources include: Kartesz's A Synonymized Checklist of the Vascular Flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (1994); Gray Card Index Database (http://www.herbaria.harvard.edu/Data/Gray/gray.html); Database of the Flora Europaea (http://www.rbge.org.uk/forms/fe.html#form), especially for European taxa now present in our flora; Index Kewensis on compact disc, Version 2.0 (1997); and Index Nominum Genericorum (ING) (http://www.nmnh.si.edu/ing). Citations of botanical authors are standardized and abbreviated as per Brummitt and Powell (1992), with one exception. British naturalist Samuel Frederick Gray, abbreviated simply as Gray in Brummitt and Powell, is abbreviated in this Checklist as S.F.Gray to distinguish him from the American botanist Asa Gray (A.Gray). No nomenclatural innovations are made in this Checklist.
As with the synonyms, the common names were obtained from a variety of sources. Common names appearing in the "Preliminary Reports on the Flora of Wisconsin" and other Wisconsin floristic treatments (Iltis et al., 1994) have been incorporated into the Checklist. Additional common names have been taken from Brako et al. (1995), Fernald (1950), Gleason and Cronquist (1991), Swink and Wilhelm (1994), USDA PLANTS database, and Voss (1972, 1985, 1996). We have also tried to incorporate the common names that are in current use by state agencies, such as the Bureau of Endangered Resources (BER), Wisconsin DNR. In cases where there are orthographic variants (i.e., short awned foxtail, shortawn foxtail, and short-awn foxtail), we either chose one of the existing common names or adopted a new name (short-awned foxtail). Manufactured common names as well as true common or vernacular names are presented in diverse ways in the botanical literature, especially in terms of their punctuation (including hyphenation) and combining forms (one combined word or two or more separate words). In most cases we have followed Brako et al. (1995) as a guide (especially for hyphenation) to resolve such issues. No effort has been made to present all possible common names; instead, we tried to select those that have a history of use in Wisconsin but have added names wherever needed so that most binomials may have an English-language equivalent. The common names are listed alphabetically, no attempt having been made to rank them by preference according to usage, distinctiveness, or frequency of appearance in publications covering the Wisconsin flora.
The WISCOMP Taxon table attempts to include all vascular plant species that have ever been collected or in the case of Sassafras albidum (Nutt.) Nees, reliably recorded as occurring in Wisconsin. To facilitate ecological and floristic studies, native species are distinguished from those which have been introduced, either accidentally (often European or Eurasian weeds that were brought over with agricultural seeds) or deliberately (e.g., Coronilla varia L. - crown-vetch, planted to control soil erosion). Taxa in the Checklist are presumed to be native unless otherwise indicated by one of the six non-native status categories, which are explained below under "Non-native taxa" (page 12).
In recent years there has been a growing effort to restore agricultural lands and disturbed native plant communities to their presettlement natural state. Unfortunately, due to a lack of information about seed sources, ecogeographic variability within species, and which taxa are native, state and federal agencies, private organizations, and individuals doing restoration work have sometimes introduced non-native species or populations with extraneous genomes which had never occurred naturally in Wisconsin communities. With an authoritative list of native species now available, efforts must be made to ensure that restoration projects use only native species with local genomes.
During any species' long taxonomic history, it was often moved from
one genus to another, or was described more than once. It thus acquired
a list of names which, though once appropriate, have now been placed into
synonymy under the one name valid in a particular rank. A goal of the WISCOMP
database is to have a comprehensive list of such synonyms associated with
each accepted taxon to facilitate cross-referencing with names and/or author
citations that appear in other literature sources, and to make data entry
from specimens annotated with these older names easier.