INTRODUCTION TO E-FLORA BC
Editor and Project Coordinator
E-Flora BC is a volunteer-driven GIS-based biogeographic atlas of the vascular plants, fungi, slime molds, algae, bryophytes and lichens of British Columbia that now includes more than 8,000 individual species pages as well as numerous information pages on a variety of biogeographic topics. E-Flora brings online available scientific resources on the flora of BC and combines these with new information to provide a centralized source of information for use in conservation, education and research. Because E-Flora is a "living" atlas, it is updated on an on-going, open-ended basis as new information becomes available.
Information in each species group is provided where available. Some groups, such as lichens, require further work and mapping is not presently available.
Use the E-Flora BC atlas pages and maps to learn about individual species distributions and ecological requirements or use our biogeograpic information pages to learn about topics such as invasive plant species, plant taxonomy, and Garry Oak ecosystems.
E-Flora BC includes a significant citizen science component. In addition to mapping collection records and provincial observation records, we also map photo records. Participate in E-Flora's citizen science component and have your photo records appear in our maps. This citizen-based data-gathering can provide key observations on species distributions that can be followed up and verified by experts through specimen collection. Read our citizen science page for more details.
To learn about the species lists used on E-Flora BC, visit our Plant Groups page.
Villous Cinquefoil (Potentilla villosa), photo by Dave Ingram
How is E-Flora BC organized?
The information on E-Flora BC is presented in four ways: through species atlas pages, through distribution maps, through a set of introductory information pages, and through comprehensive photo galleries.
- ATLAS PAGES: The E-Flora atlas pages provide species-specific information and can be accessed from the home page or from the menu at the top of this page. Our atlas pages combine information from several previously published sources as well as new information, and include information on distribution (the maps), habitat, taxonomy, range and invasive / poisonous status for each species in the province. New information on our BC species is always being added. Nomenclature is updated as available, and links to key plant databases that provide additional range, taxonomy, and ecological information are included on each page.
- MAPS: Species distribution information on E-Flora BC is displayed through dynamic interactive mapping and, in some cases, also by static maps. Static maps are provided by experts and represent vetted research work on the species covered. The interactive maps are based on available collections/observation data and are generated at the moment that you conduct a search. The data is provided by several data providers. This includes specimen-based data provided by sources such as the Royal BC Museum, the University of BC Herbarium, and the National Museum of Canada. It also includes observation data provided by the provincial BEC (Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification) program plot surveys, and weed observations provided by the BC Ministry of Forests Invasive Alien Plant Program. The maps are set up to show both collections-based and observation-based records as the default. However, individual layers may be turned on or off as needed. Our interactive maps also included several biogeographic layers that can be used in combination with the distribution information to provide insights into species correlations with climate, precipitation, geology and more.
- INFORMATION PAGES: Our information pages are accessed from the home page menu, or from the menu on the left on this page. These pages are intended to provide a general introduction to botanical and biogeograpic topics in BC. They include introductions to the species groups covered in E-Flora BC (e.g. vascular plants) as well as introductions to subjects such as invasive plant species in the province, how to conduct rare plant surveys, and the ecosystems of the province.
- PHOTO GALLERIES: The E-Flora photo galleries are accessed from our home page or from the menu at the top of this page. The galleries are built on photo contributions by hundreds of photographers throughout the province and aim to show many aspects of a plant species to aid in plant identification. You can view separate galleries for vascular plants, fungi, mosses, lichens and algae. You can also search for sets of photos such as all species in a genus, or you can call up all photos by a particular photographer to view their work. Importantly, you can construct your own photo gallery to compare photos of similar species side by side. Use the E-Flora photo galleries to determine specific flowering periods for BC species.
Pink fawn lilly (Erythronium revolutum), photo by David Blevins.
The Foundations: What published information has been brought
online on E-Flora BC?
The botanical information provided in E-Flora includes text from several major botanical publications in the province that has now been brought online in a single location. These publications are:
- Illustrated Flora of British Columbia (8 volumes) (George Douglas, Del Medeinger, Jim Pojar, and Gerald Straley)
- Some Common Mosses of British Columbia (Wilf Schofield)
- North Pacific Seaweeds (Rita O'Clair and Sandra Lindstrom)
- Lichens of British Columbia (2 volumes) (Trevor Goward, Bruce McCune, and Del Medeinger)
- Indicator Plants of British Columbia (Karel Klinka, Adolf Ceska, Anna Scagel and Vladimir J. Krajina).
Additonally, the fungi section on E-Flora BC is derived from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (Ian Gibson)
Use E-Flora BC to access these resources easily online.
What other information has been added to E-Flora BC?
In addition to text from the above sources, new material has also been incorporated into E-Flora BC. This includes: 1) ecological frameworks for many BC vascular plant species derived from analysis of the provincial BEC database. 2) information on flower colour and bloom period as available in the USDA Plants Database. 3) synonyms for our BC species also drawn from the USDA Plants Database. 4) the first atlas pages for the liverworts of BC prepared by the late Wilf Schofield have been added. 5) species introductions are currently being added. 6) similar species notes are also being added for invasive species and species at risk.
Click here to view all of the sources of information used in E-Flora BC.
Arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata). Photo by Doug Skilton
The best way to view E-Flora BC
E-Flora BC presents many photographs by BC photographers and botanists. For best viewing of this site, we recommend that you colour balance your monitor in order to bring the colours to life. For directions on how to do this, visit David Blevins' photography page. Instructions for balancing your monitor are given there.
Photos, illustrations and text on E-Flora BC are subject to Canadian Copyright Laws. Please contact the respective copyright holder if you wish to use any copyrighted material. Information on who owns copyright and who has given permissions may be found on our About the Data section.
For photos, please refer also to the Image FAQs for additional copyright information. This information also applies to other material found on E-Flora BC.
Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum), photo by David Blevins