A new online flora identification service was launched on Wednesday this week by the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens and Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS).
The website, 'Flora of Gibraltar' is the culmination of years of work by the GONHS Botanical Section and technical staff at the botanic gardens.
As was explained at the launch on Wednesday, this has been the first attempt to provide an identification guide to the entire native and naturalised vascular and bryophyte flora of Gibraltar.
The website provides information on the identification, distribution and ecology of all of the plants of Gibraltar, and it includes maps and photographs for all the plant species which have been identified on the Rock.
This online project is the natural successor to 'The Flowers of Gibraltar', a book which was written by Leslie Linares, Arthur Harper and John Cortes and published in 1996.
However, the online nature of the current project means that it can include more species, images and information, and can continue to be updated with information as further understanding is gained of Gibraltar's flora.
The website is an educational resource of considerable potential which can be used by the public, schools and students at the University of Gibraltar. It is a scientific tool, but it is also user-friendly and expertise in botany is not required for its use.
Gibraltar's minister for the Environment, Professor John Cortes, who was present at the launch, congratulated the team for their achievement, complimenting them on “an outstanding piece of work, which will be an important tool for research and for education, and a logical conclusion of the botanical work of both GONHS and the Botanic Garden. Not only is it full of information,” he said, “but the non-specialist will find the photographs a delight to behold. Few countries of our size can boast such a comprehensive online flora.”
Anyone wishing to access the website can find it at www.floraofgibraltar.myspecies.info