Latest Entries »

I am very glad to announce the release of a full-featured version of the electronic checklist of North Dakota plants and the “Flora of North Dakota: Illustrated Checklist” electronic book. URL:

The first draft version of this checklist appeared one year ago. In 2012, more than 30 publications were digitized, and more than 2,000 plant samples were collected in 99 locations covering the “botanical white spots” of our state. The size of

Minot State University herbarium (now internationally recognized as “MISU”) was doubled. All of these lead to the serious improvement of the initial checklist.

The checklist exists in two forms: as an active, searchable table and as a PDF book (60 Mb, more than 760 pages). In addition, the MISU herbarium database was also put online as a Google spreadsheet.

The current count for the flora of North Dakota is 1649 plant species (we found 16 new species for the state in 2011-12). There are also approximately 250 species “under the question” without any references to the location within the state.

The Book and table checklists have similar informational content: names, maps and photographs. However, there are some differences. For example, the book version contains species, authorship, and the most important synonyms, whereas the table version has links to plant photographs in full resolution (plant photographs in the book are downsampled). It is probably easier to find the plant name in the table, but the book may be used without Internet connection and even printed. (Here I need to mention that all materials are dedicated to the public domain, I do not claim any kind of copyright). When our sources (herbarium databases and publications) will be updated, both the table and the book versions will be updated simultaneously. Therefore, if you decided to download the book, check for the updates regularly.

The work is still far from completion. First of all, we need to access more “botanical hot spots” of the state. Most important are Border Butte (Bottineau county), George Lake environs (McHenry county), UND Forest River biology area (Grand Forks county) and Pembina Gorge (Cavalier county). These places are rich in plant diversity, and are also located in under-researched parts of the state.

The second checklist needs further improvement. Due to enormous amount of data (more than 2,700 images), not all photographs were placed correctly. The book needs keys, descriptions, and even more images. Many species concepts need clarification. All questions, comments, suggestions and corrections are very welcome!

This checklist is the result of collaborative efforts of many people. I am extremely grateful to all of you!

Note for biodiversity informaticians: internally, the list is based on several plain text tables which are processed into static HTML and PDF with R language and TeX text formatting system on every update. Distribution maps are produced with simple PHP script. Table representation is based on DataTables jQuery JavaScript plugin. LuaLaTeX is responsible for PDF produciton.

This posted was presented on the fall 2012 North Dakota INBRE meeting at Grand Forks.

In 2011 and 2012, we collected plants in non-usual, “Russian” way. I believe that it is more efficient then the American traditional way, and also will result in better herbarium. If you are interesting, there is a folder with video fragments showing the whole process from the start:

New publication about the project

New publication (written by Andrea Johnson) about the project is now on-line at Minot Daily News Web site:

First North Dakota flora checklist since 1963!

We are glad to announce the electronic checklist of North Dakota plant species:

The list is still on draft stage, but already contains information which could be useful for everybody who is interesting in North Dakota plants. Please note that the “search” box works as a filter, and if you type there “Plantago”, you may see not only names, sources and distributions, but also how photographs (and in future, descriptions) may be integrated into the checklist.

The list is based mainly on three herbarium databases (many thanks to Shawn DeKeyser and Kathryn Yurkonis!) and also USDA PLANTS database. The last was especially useful as a source of synonymy and common names. Please note that cultivated and wild plants are not yet well separated. Nevertheless, if we estimate that we have ~ 150 cultivated plant species, state flora is still much more diverse that was previously thought — approximately 1800 species!

Right now we follow the taxonomic concepts represented in USDA database, but in the future we will move towards the species concepts of “Flora of North America” and “Flora of Great Plains”. We also plan to integrate more sources, namely species lists from Master and Ph.D. works developed during 1970s-2000s in NDSU under the supervision of Bill Barker. Previous plant reviews of the state (Stevens, 1963; Bergmann, 1918; Lunell, 1915-1918) will be also integrated.

Note for biodiversity informaticians: internally, the list is based on several plain text tables which are processed into static HTML with R language script on every update. Distribution maps are produced with simple PHP script. Table representation is based on DataTables jQuery JavaScript plugin.

All questions, comments, suggestions or corrections are welcome! Please comment this post or send an e-mail to alexey.shipunov at

“Border Butte peatmoss bog” poster is now online

This is a poster presented at North Dakota INBRE Annual Meeting. Grand Forks, ND, October 27, 2011:

“Flora of North Dakota” presentation is now available

These are presentation slides showed on the Northwest Rural Consortium Conference (Minot State University, September 13, 2011). Enjoy!

Check out Flora of North Dakota!!

I will be adding information and pictures from our first excursions from this summer (June 2011)

~!!Getting Started Soon!!~

Pictures and information from excursions and collecting sites will be available soon! Please follow as this is some exciting and never before seen stuff!!



Hello everyone! My name is Jared Schumaier and I am a senior majoring in Biology at Minot State University. This summer I, along with Dr. Alexey Shipunov and colleague Joshua Beaudoin, set out to collect the “Flora of North Dakota.” Over the course of the summer we traveled all over the state, enduring over 25 excursions in total. Our mission was to collect all native flowering plants we came across. Now one may ask what is the significance of this botanical knowledge/ research? The truth is, the entire flora of North Dakota has never been collected. Some parts of the state have been studied before, but our mission is more vast, and over the course of this year and next summer we hope to have a better understanding of the “entire” flora of ND. My blog will detail our excursions throughout the summer of 2011, including some astonishing botanical findings and a few ecological masterpieces that make up the great state of North Dakota. A hint on an interesting find was a peat moss bog near the American and Canadian border. I will explain this strange find and many others in depth later on. Follow me and my colleagues as we set out to reveal the “Flora of North Dakota!!!” 🙂