Friends of the Arboretum Lecture

"The Flora of China: An International Project to Describe China's 31,500 Plant Species in 50 Volumes and 25 Years"
Nicholas Turland, Co-director, Flora of China Project, Missouri Botanical Garden

  • Thursday, November 19, 2009 – 7:30 pm9:00 pm

Nick Turland, co-director of the Flora of China Project, will give a concise description of this huge international collaboration between Chinese and non-Chinese botanists to catalog the estimated 31,500 species of wild plants in China. The project began in 1988 and now has a 21-member Editorial Committee and 11 partner institutions: four in China and seven in the West, coordinated by the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Institute of Botany, Beijing. The Flora itself is being written in English by some 480 authors from 30 countries and will comprise 24 volumes of text and 24 accompanying volumes of illustrations (line drawings), plus an introductory volume and a more general-interest book on Plants of China. The Flora will be completed in 2013, and so far 17 volumes of text and 15 volumes of illustrations have been published, describing in detail 22,000 species and illustrating more than 12,000. There is also a Web site for the project (at and an electronic version of the Flora (at, where all this published information is freely available online.

Nick Turland is an Associate Curator in the Division of Science and Conservation at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri. He joined the staff there in 1997 to work on the Flora of China Project, moving from his native England where he had worked since 1993 in the Botany Department of the Natural History Museum, London. Nick is now Co-Director of the Flora of China Project, which is coordinated from St. Louis and involves 11 partner institutions in China, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. This 50-volume flora is now more than two-thirds complete, with all the information freely available online. Nick has traveled to China seven times for field work, workshops, and Flora of China editorial meetings. Since 1984, Nick has also had a deep interest in the flora of the eastern Mediterranean region, especially Greece, where he has made over 30 visits, mainly for field work. He has published several books and articles on the region, including Flowers of Crete (with John Fielding, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2005). Nick is also a specialist in botanical nomenclature, and is an editor of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature—the rules for the formal scientific naming of plants.

Nick is also speaking at the local North American Rock Garden Society's meeting on November 21, 2009, at 10:00 AM. The title of this presentation is "From the Wine-dark Sea to the Olympian Heights: Plant-hunting in Greece"

Free for Friends of the JC Raulston Arboretum members, NC State University students (with ID), and Department of Horticultural Science faculty and staff, all others $5.00.
Advance registration is not available.
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please call (919) 513-7005 for more information about this lecture.