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Contributor guidelines


13.1 Descriptions of families, genera, species, and infraspecific taxa are each limited to 150 words, and should emphasize the characters important for identification. Descriptions at any level must be parallel for the taxa at that level (i.e., an attribute mentioned for one species should be mentioned for the other species within the same genus).
13.2 Descriptions must be based on first hand observations of actual specimens from Nepal examined by the contributors. Generic and family descriptions therefore do not include information relating to species only found outside Nepal. Descriptions must not be taken from the literature
13.3 If a species includes more than one infraspecific taxon in Nepal, there is a full description of the species as whole, and the descriptions of the infraspecific taxa (including the autonym) are diagnostic for each taxon. This procedure is different from many floras where the autonym infraspecific taxon is described in detail and diagnostic characters are given for the other infraspecific taxa.
13.4 If only one infraspecific taxon of a species occurs in Nepal, there is no description under the species but a full description under the infraspecific taxon. However, an indication of the overall distribution of the species should be given.
13.5 Descriptions are in botanical English, which is mostly composed of nouns, adjectives, and conjunctions. For the Flora of Nepal, descriptive botanical English does not contain verbs and has few articles (e.g. "the" is not used and "a" is used only when necessary).
13.6 Descriptions follow the conventional order (i.e., habit, duration, sex, roots, stems, leaves, inflorescences, flowers, fruit, seeds). The general order for describing specific structures is:
Below ground parts: roots, underground stems
Stems: primary stems, trunks, bark, wood, branches, twigs
Leaves: general arrangement, stipules, petiole, leaf blade, lobes, compound leaf axes, leaflets (segments in ferns), modified leaflets
Inflorescences: general, position, type, branches (i.e., description of axes), peduncle, bracts
Flowers: general features, pedicel, receptacle and hypanthium, calyx, corolla, corona, androecium (flowering), glands or disk, gynoecium (flowering)
Fruit: general, aggregation of or division within fruit, fruit or mericarp structure, accessory structures, multiple fruit structure
Seeds: external structures, internal structures as appropriate.
The general order that a structure should be described is: colour, shape, dimensions, base, apex, margin, texture, surface characteristics, venation.

13.7 Descriptions are composed of short sentences each describing a separate structure. If it is necessary to break the sentence into clauses they will be separated by semicolons. At the beginning of each sentence and after each semicolon there must be a noun, and all the description (until the end of the sentence or until a semicolon) must refer back to that noun. Commas are used to separate the various components within the sentence. When characters are given in series, a comma will separate each component of the series and before the final "and" (e.g., "branchlets, petioles, and peduncles tomentose").

In the submitted account each sentence in the Description should begin on a new line to assist the Editors in checking descriptions to ensure that they are fully parallel.

13.8 If two alternate states of a structure exist, they are separated by the word "or," and when several alternate states exist, each state is separated by a comma with the final state preceded by a comma followed by "or" (e.g., "petals white or pink" and "petals white, pink, or blue").
13.9 If a range of shapes is found in a structure the word "to" is used (e.g., "leaf blade oblong to ovate"). If a structure is meant to be described as intermediate in shape rather than a range between two extremes, a dash "-" is used (e.g., "leaf blade lanceolate-ovate"). When describing colours the dash is used to indicate intermediates e.g. blue-black, pink-white, but should not be used for qualifying statements such as bluish black, pinkish white, etc.
13.10 In descriptions and keys nouns must be used as singular or plural depending on the condition found in the plant being described (e.g., "style 2--4 mm" is used when the flower has a single style but "styles 2--4 mm" is used when the flower has more than one style).
The following example shows how the general rule for singular and/or plural would be applied for a particular shrubby species:
The species is composed of many shrubs.
The shrubs have many branches, many leaves, several inflorescences, many flowers, and many fruit (note that the plural of fruit is also fruit if they are all of one type).
The inflorescences have one peduncle and several bracts.
The leaves have one petiole, one leaf blade, one upper surface, one lower surface, one base, one margin, one apex, and several veins (not nerves).
The flowers have one calyx, one corolla, several sepals several petals, several stamens, one ovary, and one style.
The fruit have several seeds.
13.11 Potentially ambiguous terms such as above, back, below, beneath, bottom, front, lower, top, and upper can be used in cases where there is no ambiguity. Where there may be confusion the terms adaxial, abaxial, apical, basal, proximal, or distal (or their adverbial forms adaxially, abaxially, apically, basally, proximally, or distally) should be used.
13.12 For zygomorphic flowers the terms upper and lower are to be used in describing the calyx and corolla lips (e.g., "upper lip" and "lower lip").
13.13 The terms apical or basal or upper and lower rather than proximal and distal should be used when describing structures on the main stem of a plant because proximal and distal are meaningless in this context. However, proximal and distal can be used when describing structures along a side branch because in this context distal means farther from the stem and proximal means closer to the stem.