How to use the portal
Welcome to this guide to using the MPNS portal, which provides an overview of the portal's
Searching the MPNS Resource
Enter the name of a medicinal plant in the search box.
As you type, a drop-down list of up to 30 names in the MPNS Resource that match your search term is created. You can:
- Search using a name in the existing list: Click on it and then click on ‘Go’ or press enter/return.
- Submit your own search term exactly as you entered it even if it doesn’t appear in the list: Click on ‘Go’ when you have finished typing. Do not press enter/return in this instance as your search will default to the first item in the list.
Use the ‘Limit search to’ box to narrow your search to either only scientific names or only non-scientific names.
Exploring the search results
Subsets of your results can be viewed by expanding each of the six drop down links as follows:
- n Plant(s) recorded as having medicinal use
Expanding this link will display a list of the ‘accepted’ scientific names of those plants associated in any way with your search term. Subspecies and varieties are listed separately from the species to which they belong.
There will be more than one plant listed if your search term is ambiguous.
For example, the common name ‘hogweed’ refers to nine different plant species according to publications included in the MPNS Resource to date, including Physalis angulata L., Heracleum sphondylium L. and Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.
Plants are listed in order of the frequency with which your search term is found to be associated with that plant in the medicinal plant literature. For example, 'hogweed' is found to refer to each of Boerhavia diffusa L. and Heracleum sphondyllium L. five times in the literature. It has been used twice in the literature to refer to Boerhavia repens L.
There are a number of reasons why you may not find the scientific name you were expecting under this link. See Why is the plant I’m looking for not listed in the results? in the FAQs pages for possible explanations.
‘Accepted’ scientific names are established, wherever possible, based upon actively curated taxonomic databases that have been peer reviewed. See also: How is the Accepted name chosen? in the FAQ page.
- is cited in n Medicinal references
Expanding this link will display details of all references captured in the MPNS Resource that cite the term used in your search. They are arranged alphabetically by title although you can reorder by clicking on the column headings.
Clicking on the title of any one publication will take you to a details page providing a full reference to that publication, a URL link (where available), and the number of scientific names and non-scientific names collected from that reference by MPNS.
Clicking on the number in the column titled 'Records referring to reference' will filter the main display to show only citations of your search term found within that particular reference. You can remove the filter again under ‘View all n records relating to your search in a combined display’ or by using the ‘back’ button on your browser.
See What does it mean if my search term is “cited in 0 medicinal references”? in the FAQs if the number of medicinal references indicated is zero.
- containing n Common or Pharmaceutical names
Expanding this link will display the non-scientific names (e.g. common or pharmaceutical names) corresponding to your search term, as they appear in the medicinal plant references included in the MPNS Resource. They are arranged alphabetically so that similar names are adjacent. The number of times each name is cited is also shown and you can sort on this column by clicking the header.
Clicking on a name in this table will access the corresponding non-scientific name details page.
- containing n Scientific names as used in medicinal plant references
Expanding this link will display the scientific names associated with your search term as cited in the medicinal plant references included in the MPNS Resource.
MPNS includes these names following precisely the spellings and abbreviations used in those publications. This means the same name may be listed more than once with slightly different variations or misspellings as employed in medicinal literature. These names are arranged alphabetically.
The number of times each name is cited is also given.
Clicking on a name in this table will access the corresponding 'Plant details page'.
- is directly associated with n Scientific names found in Kew's taxonomic resources
Expanding this link will display all scientific names found in Kew's taxonomic resources which match your search term or are directly linked to it.
Included in this list are:
- any scientific names that matched against your search term
- the accepted names of all plants for which your search term matches a common, pharmaceutical or scientific name
- the synonyms of plants whose accepted name includes your search term
For each scientific name in this list its taxonomic status (accepted/synonym) is indicated. You can link to a ‘Plant details page' by clicking on the corresponding ‘Accepted name’.
Please note: this list will not necessarily include all scientific synonyms known to be used for these plants (e.g. if your search returns a non-scientific name the scientific synonyms of plants using that non-scientific name will not be included). To see a list of ALL synonyms associated with a particular plant click on the Accepted name displayed to go to the 'Plant detail's page and then use the 'Scientific synonyms' tab to view all synonyms for that plant recorded in Kew’s taxonomic datasets.
If you do not find the scientific name you were expecting under this link then please refer to Why is the plant I’m looking for not listed in the results? in the FAQs for possible explanations.
- View all n records relating to your search in a combined display
Expanding this link will display a summary of all results in a single table similar to the format used in previous versions of the MPNS Resource. Records are arranged alphabetically by the ‘All names’ column by default. You can sort the table on the content of any column by clicking the column headings.
This display can also be used to filter your results.
Filtering the results of your search
From the main results page, clicking the ‘View all records relating to your search in a combined display’ link will access a display where you can refine your results.
Narrow your search by using the filter boxes to the left of the table. This will refresh the entire page, refining the results displays to show a summary of the smaller number of records that match both your original search term and your filter criteria.
The numbers after each of the filter headings indicate how many terms of that type correspond to the results of your search.
Using the filters
Click on ‘See all’ to expand a filter box and see all the possible terms relating to your search within each category as follows:
- Accepted Name: You can filter your results to show records relating to only one of the plants relating to your search term.
- Name Category: You can filter your results to show records relating to just one type of name. One or more choices will appear depending on how many categories your search term matched to:
- Non-scientific names: common, pharmaceutical and drug names.
- Scientific names in medicinal references: scientific names as they are printed in medicinal plant references covered to date, following spellings and variants exactly as published. This means that the same name may be listed more than once with slight differences.
- Scientific names linked from taxonomic databases: all accepted scientific names as well as any synonyms to which these relate as taken from Kew’s taxonomic databases.
- Name: You can filter your results to show records relating to just one of all possible names, from all name types, associated with your search term.
- Medicinal Plant Reference: You can filter to view results from only one reference source (this may be a medicinal reference or a Kew taxonomic database).
Clicking on any term in a filter box will restrict the number of records that you see in the results tables on display. The term that you have selected is indicated by a tick in the box to the left.
To deselect your filter term simply click again on that term and the page will refresh.
At present it is only possible to apply one filter at a time within each category (filter box), however it is possible to apply filters across two or more filter boxes simultaneously.
Please note that if you have already restricted your search to either ‘Scientific names’ or ‘Non-scientific names’ using the ‘Limit search to’ box at the top of the page, the number of filter options will be reduced accordingly.
Sorting the results of your search
The default arrangement for each results display varies (see 'Exploring the search results' for details).
Change the sort order of a table by clicking on the heading of any column.
Finding out about a Plant, Name or Reference
Throughout the portal, results may be hyperlinked to provide access to further information. What is displayed when clicking on these links will depend on the result type.
Clicking on an ‘Accepted name’ will access the corresponding 'Plant details' page.
Clicking on a ‘Scientific name as used in medicinal plant references’ will access the Plant details page for the plant associated with that name. Rarely, where MPNS found more than one plant to be associated with a single scientific name in the medicinal literature, that name will be listed more than once: each instance linking to each of the relevant Plant details pages. Viewing each of these pages in turn will expose which references used that name and how it was used.
Clicking on a ‘Non-scientific name’ will access a corresponding Non-scientific name details page listing all possible plants that have been referred to in the literature using that name.
Clicking on the name of a Medicinal plant reference will provide a summary of this data source and its coverage in MPNS.
Plant details page
Clicking on an ‘Accepted name’ or a ‘Scientific name as used in medicinal plant references’ will lead to the ‘Plant details page’ for the relevant plant. This page will display the currently Accepted name of that plant as the header.
The Plant details page summarises the information held in the MPNS Resource for a given plant species, subspecies or variety:
- The ‘Accepted name’ at the top of the page is the scientific name that MPNS considers to be correct for that plant. See How is the Accepted name chosen? in the FAQs.
- Family: the plant family to which the given plant belongs drawn from Kew’s taxonomic resources and based upon the APG IV standard.
- Taxonomic Source: states the source database for the taxonomy followed by MPNS. See How is the Accepted name chosen? in the FAQs.
- Taxonomic Confidence Level: indicates the confidence level associated with the taxonomic treatment used. See What is the “Taxonomic Confidence” Level? in the FAQs.
- ‘Botanical information’: wherever possible, MPNS also displays a link to Kew’s ‘Plants of the World Online’ providing a richer set of information about that plant including images, its distribution, other uses or a botanical description. Plants of the World is a new resource and so many MPNS plants are not yet covered in which case no link will be available.
- ‘Publication of scientific plant name’: displays where the accepted name was first published (the botanical citation) and its original date of publication.
- ‘Infraspecies of’: this heading appears when you are viewing details for a subspecies or variety. It will provide a link to the Plant details page of the parent species.
- ‘Infraspecies’: this heading appears when you are viewing details of a species for which subspecies or varieties are recognised. The number in brackets indicates the number of infraspecies recognised. Click ‘See all’ to view. Each name listed links to its corresponding Plant details page.
Below the summary are four tabs. Click on any tab to toggle between the alternative views. Each view displays a table containing additional information about this plant.
Click on a tab to view the corresponding table:
‘As cited in medicinal plant references’ tab
- These are scientific names as printed in one or more medicinal plant references covered by MPNS. These will include names that are now considered out of date (synonyms), misspelt or used incorrectly (misapplied). These names are captured exactly as they appeared in each publication so that several versions of each name with minor differences in spelling or author abbreviations may be given.
- The second column indicates which medicinal reference(s) cite each name or name variant.
- Clicking on a reference will link to a page providing a full citation for that publication, a URL link (where available), and the number of scientific names and non-scientific names collected from that reference by MPNS.
‘Scientific synonyms’ tab
- Lists the scientific synonyms of this plant derived from the taxonomic source indicated at the top of the page. Synonyms are listed in alphabetical order.
‘Non-scientific names & part(s) used’ tab
- Lists the various pharmaceutical, common or 'other' names used for this plant as they appear in the individual published references indicated. Names are spelt exactly as they appear in those references. By default the table is sorted alphabetically by Non-scientific name. The type of name (pharmaceutical, other) is indicated in the ‘Class of name’ column.
- Where available, this table also contains information on: ‘Trade forms’ (the processed plant material) and/or ‘Plant parts’ (parts of the plant from which the processed form is derived).
- An individual reference may cite the use of more than one plant part in more than one Trade form. These are listed side by side.
- You can sort the table by any one of the columns by clicking on its heading.
‘Search externally’ tab
- This tab provides onward links to selected external online resources.
- Options in the left column search each resource included using the ‘Accepted name’ for the plant you are viewing.
- Options in the right column will search that resource simultaneously using both the accepted name of the plant AND all of it’s synonyms.
- This second option enables you to find information about the plant regardless of which scientific name(s) were employed by the resource in question. Depending on how synonyms have been used in the past, this can mean a significant difference in the number of records returned.
- We welcome suggestions of other information sources that we could link to or partner with. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Non-scientific name details page
Clicking on a common name or pharmaceutical name will access a ‘Non-scientific name details page’ displaying information held in MPNS corresponding to the name you clicked.
The selected name is displayed at the top of the page and below this are three tabs. You can click on each of these tabs to toggle between different views. Each view will display a table containing additional information.
‘Accepted names’ tab: This tab shows the scientific name that MPNS considers to be correct for each of the plants referred to in the medicinal literature using your search term. See also: How is the Accepted name chosen? in the FAQs.
‘Published in medicinal plant references as’ tab: provides details of which references in the resource included the non-scientific name indicated. For each reference you can see:
- The ‘Medicinal plant references’ from which each record is derived
- ‘Scientific names as used in medicinal reference’ showing the spelling and author citation used there
- ‘MPNS matched scientific names’ showing to which scientific names in Kew’s taxonomic resources MPNS has matched the ‘scientific name as used in medicinal reference’ (regardless of whether they are synonyms or accepted names)
- ‘Accepted names’ displays the Accepted scientific name that corresponds to the matched name
- ‘Trade forms’ (the processed plant material) as indicated in the medicinal literature
- ‘Plant parts’ (parts of the plant from which the processed form is derived) as indicated in the medicinal literature
Clicking on a reference will link to a details page providing a full citation for that publication, a URL link (where available), and the number of scientific names and non-scientific names collected from that reference by MPNS.
‘Other non-scientific names’ tab: lists the “other names” associated with this non-scientific name in the MPNS Resource, e.g. pharmaceutical, common and drug names. For each name you can see:
- The ‘Class’, or type, of non-scientific name: ‘Pharmaceutical’ or ‘Other’
- The medicinal plant reference that cited each non-scientific name
Medicinal plant reference page
This page provides an acknowledgement of the source from which data were extracted for inclusion in MPNS. The page gives the full citation, a URL if this is available and then the number of scientific names and non-scientific names used in that publication and incorporated into MPNS.
If you do not find an answer to your question here or on the MPNS FAQ pages, or if you have feedback about the portal please contact us at email@example.com