We would like to take this opportunity to look back on the conferences we attended in 2015 and what we learnt, as well as letting you know about conferences that may interest you in the coming year.
In 2015 members of our team traveled to Germany, Jordan, Bulgaria, Sweden and Hungary. We have had the pleasure of meeting researchers in natural products, ethnopharmacology and food supplements, as well as herbal medicine practitioners, growers and manufacturers, and health regulators.
It has been fascinating to meet people from so many different countries and backgrounds, to learn about the role plant names play in their work and the challenges they face in using plant names effectively. We were pleased to hear that people are finding our portal useful and gained some useful insights into how it could be improved.
We gave presentations at many of the conferences emphasising the importance of reliable, up to date nomenclature for clear communication about plants, and highlighted the importance of scientific synonyms for accessing research about medicinal plants. We explained the various taxonomic reference resources that Kew manages and how MPNS makes these more accessible and relevant to our audiences.
In discussions with some participants it became clear that The Plant List (TPL) was often the main source people turned to for finding accepted names and synonyms, in part because journals recommend it in their guidelines for authors. We raised the fact that The Plant List has not been updated since TPL 1.1 was released back in Sept 2013. Furthermore, copies of the data sets incorporated into TPL1.1 were taken well over a year before that. Thus for many plants the taxonomic opinions and data presented by TPL are outdated. By contrast, the MPNS portal is regularly updated and will reflect the most recent changes in taxonomy and nomenclature. Version 3 of MPNS covers more than 14,000 medicinal plants.
We are always happy to answer questions about using the portal or other services, send us an email or perhaps we will see you at one of the conferences this year.