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International Legume Database & Information Service


World Database of Legumes

Phase 1
Phase 2
Database Standards


The ILDIS World Database of Legumes currently contains records for over 19,000 taxa (species, subspecies and varieties). More statistics are available.

The data comprises fully referenced, accurate, factual information, which can be split into three categories:

This information, known as Type One Data, makes up the Phase 1 species reference system. From the start of ILDIS, in 1985, the species reference system was intended to be the backbone of the Phase 2 species diversity information system, which would include data relevant to applied botany organised by species.

Relationship Between Phase 1 and Phase 2

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Phase 1

Phase 1 involves the compilation of a baseline taxonomic database covering basic data on all legumes worldwide. The data is divided into the following categories:

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Phase 2

Phase 2 projects use the Phase 1 database, and particularly the World Species Checklist Data, as a framework for creating further species diversity data sets in more applied disciplines, for example germplasm sources and plant breeding data. As a whole these will constitute a full species diversity information system for the world's legumes. Examples of ILDIS Phase 2 projects are:

The Phytochemical Dictionary of the Leguminosae

The Phytochemical Dictionary of the Leguminosae, published in 1994, represents the first of the ILDIS Phase 2 projects.

Creating the dictionary was part of a co-operative project between ILDIS and Chapman & Hall (C & H). At the core are the 'phytochemical records', the known substances recorded from legume plants. These were abstracted over four years and built into a database. But the integrity and organisation of this data depends on the one hand on botanical nomenclature, synonymy and classification of the plants, and on the other on chemical nomenclature, synonymy and classification of substances. The ILDIS World Database of Legumes was used to tie plant records to a single preferred plant name and its position in the plant classification. Similarly the C & H Chemical Database (CHCD) was used to tie substance records to preferred substance names and their in the chemical classification.

Finally, it was decided that a far more useful Dictionary would be acheived if selected additional data were added from the parent databases: botanical data from ILDIS, chemical data from CHCD. The core phytochemical data was used to define the set of plants for which botanical data were imported from ILDIS, and the set of substances for which chemical data were extracted from CHCD.

Extract from 'The Phytochemical Dictionary of the Leguminosae'

Root Nodulation

ILDIS currently has two root nodulation projects.

Joe Kirkbride (USDA) is creating a database that records the presence or absence of root nodules.

Janet Sprent (University of Dundee) is compiling data, not only on nodulation, but on various nodule characters, such as structure, morphology, mode of infection and, where possible, type(s) of rhizobia.

Further information on root nodulation projects

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Data Standards

ILDIS uses the following Data Standards to ensure consistency of information:

Type One Data Fields

Hollis, S 1990. ILDIS Type One Data Fields: Detailed Specification. Version 10. ILDIS.


Meikle, R D 1984. Draft Index of Author Abbreviations. HMSO.

It is planned to move to the TDWG Standard, Brummitt, R K & Powell, C E, Eds. 1992. Authors of Plant Names. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens, in the near future.

Taxonomic Database Working Group (TDWG) Standards Used By ILDIS


Hollis, S and Brummitt R K 1992. World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions. Plant Taxonomic Database Standards No 2. Pittsburgh: Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation.

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ILDIS uses the Alice (version 2.0) biodiversity database system for management of the World Database.

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