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NatureServe Explorer

An online database of organisms with a page for each, covering range and conservation status of each organism.

Website: https://explorer.natureserve.org/

NatureServe Explorer is an online database run by NatureServe, a non-profit organization based in the DC area, with offices in Arlington, VA, Boston, MA, and Boulder, CO. NatureServe amasses, hosts, and provides proprietary (closed) data related to conservation of all living organisms. NatureServe originated as a spin-off of The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organization also headquartered in Arlington, VA.

The NatureServe organization is primarily funded through grants and contracts, with only a very small portion of their funding originating through general contributions and an even smaller portion originating through membership fees.

Although much of the data and tools hosted by NatureServe are proprietary and not available to the general public, NatureServe Explorer maintains public webpages with a profile for each species, including but not limited to plants. These pages are often an unparalleled resource for multiple reasons. One is that the coverage of species is extensive, often covering species that are not given much attention in any other public sources. Also, the pages often have historical notes, including on taxonomic changes and discovery of new populations of particular plants, exceeding information available elsewhere. The pages also have some information on habitat, abundance, threats, and approaches to conservation relevant to each species.

We link to these pages for specific plants when possible.

There is also a premium service available free of charge, but with an email sign-up, called NatureServe Explorer Pro, offering more features for viewing maps and data. The degree of data available is inconsistent and not comprehensive: in some cases there is fine-level geospatial data on plant occurrences, but, for a given species, it varies regionally, is often incomplete, and the site does not notate where the data is complete vs not. For this reason, the finer-tuned data is only reliable for establishing where a species occurs, not where it does not occur: to this end, only coarser state- and province-level data is available.