Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 2, 2003
Publication Date: March 19, 2004
Citation: Wiersema, J.H. 2004. The role of the grin database in promoting stabilization of economic plant names. Acta Horticulture Proceedings. v. 634 pp. 67-74.
Interpretive Summary: Communication about economic vascular plants depends directly on accurate scientific names. Such communication is essential for the exchange of agricultural commodities around the world. A USDA database is currently available with accurate taxonomic information on over 36,000 economically important plants. These data include scientific names of the economically important vascular plants as well as common names, distribution records, and economic uses. This publication describes the database that is used by scientists, policy makers, commodity traders, and persons involved in agriculture and world trade of agricultural and horticultural goods to further trade of agricultural goods.
The taxonomic portion of the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agriculture Research Service provides the scientific nomenclature for ca. 450,000 accessions of the National Plant Germplasm System. Recently, we have extended the taxonomic coverage to many other plants of economic importance throughout the world, such as poisonous plants, ornamentals, weeds, medicinal or rare plants, not represented among germplasm accessions. GRIN Taxonomy now provides accurate scientific names for nearly 36,000 species of vascular plants. For nearly two decades USDA botanists have surveyed the botanical literature and compiled extensive data relating to nomenclature, synonymy, classification, and a bibiliography of taxonomic resources for the included plants. Since 1994 these data have been freely available to internet users, and thousands of queries of these data are answered daily. Direct consultation for complex nomenclatural issues is also often provided. Many agricultural organizations rely on GRIN Taxonomy as a dependable source of accurate scientific names. Included among these are international seed-testing organizations, which have used GRIN Taxonomy to promote stabilization of nomenclature in the seed industry.