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The development of an electronic world grass flora database is described in which data for 1090 morphological characters gathered for 11,000 species in 700 genera organized according to accepted names. This descriptive information is linked to a synonym database of 60,000 names. Authors, literature references, and the status of each name are also recorded in the database along with geographical distribution and type information. The list of accepted species is linked to a global herbarium of 350,000 specimens at Kew arranged in a phylogenetic sequence at the generic and species levels and according to broad phytogeographic divisions. From the database, descriptions can be generated for species, genera, and tribes. Character similarities or differences can be identified and character sets generated as an aid to key writing. Taxonomic and geographic subsets can be generated and specimens can be identified using an interactive key.