POWO taxonomy and distribution data - a good reference?

The topic of introduced species has recently been discussed in various topics (e.g. here,
here or here).

I was about to change the status of one species (Cecropia schreberiana), that I observed in Cuba (fittingly the featured country of today) to ‘introduced’, because according to POWO, it is not present (or native) in Cuba. I then checked the Cuban Red List to see which species are native on the island, and it lists only one species, C. antillarum. This species, however, only has subspecies rank in POWO.

Now it is getting strange – POWO lists it as a subspecies of C. schreberiana, and while on the subspecies website its distribution is shown to include Cuba, on the species page its distribution starts on the next island, Hispaniola. I wonder why this isn’t automatically included, anyways, this is a POWO issue, not to be discussed here.

However, while POWO is used as the reference source for plant taxonomy, I guess when it comes to assigning establishment means, other sources (or better: multiple sources) should be used before changing the status. But I am not a ‘plant guy’, nor do I have much experience with POWO, so others might comment on the data quality of that data base

No, POWO is not a good source for complete distribution data.


And even less so for determining Native or Introduced status.

POWO is not a good source to use (at least before 2020).

I like to use GBIF for things like this, not sure how reliable it is either though…

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