Sources for new taxa - which is preferred?

I have just created the new taxon Haageocereus pseudomelanostele ssp, chryseus and am not sure which of the three sources I have that would be preferred by iNat. The sources are:

  1. Catalogue of Life
  2. Encyclopaedia of Life
  3. ITIS

Any help and suggestions please :)

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POWO is the taxonomic authority for most vascular plants – see

Yes, I’m familiar with that and have completed the taxonomic relationship from that source. What I am concerned about here is what to add in the “Source” box of the taxon creation page.

Further up that page there is this - " Encyclopedia of Life, Catalogue of Life and Wikipedia (as well as its sister sites such as Wikidata and Wikispecies etc) are not among of our taxonomic authorities!"

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Generally, you should fill the source box with the taxonomic authority, i.e. POWO.

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Refer to the official Taxonomic Authorities and this forum thread for insect taxonomic resources. The websites mentioned in these links can be used as sources. You should find the taxon page, and, if it isn’t already in use as a source (aka doesn’t come up when you paste the name into the little Source box), you should add it, with the title, in-text citation, url, and full citation.

I’ve gone ahead and added the source for H. pseudomelanostele ssp. chryseus.

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I’m getting a little lost here. Maybe I should be asking a different question: What is the intended difference between the “Source” box on the “Edit Taxon” page and External Taxa “URL” on the Editing Taxon Framework Relationship page? I have seen many instances in which these two are different.

Unsure; I wouldn’t play around with it. The place that matters is the source on the Edit Taxon page.

Data on the Taxonomy Framework page should only refer to links to come from the resource to which the site defers for managing taxonomy in that group. For example, there should not be any source other than the World Odonata List for odes etc.

From a name creation perspective, any source is valid, be it the journal article that named it, a different name aggregator etc. So the source field is more open ended.


For plants, I’d use Plants of the World Online unless there’s some reason not to (it’s a new species not yet listed there, community is deviating from their taxonomy, etc.) And in part because we have taxon framework system, there’s no need to spend time creating taxon-specific source links for plants - you can just reference an existing POWO source that links to the homepage.


Where these two things are different, it is often because the taxon was first imported from one of the external name sources iNat uses - Catalog of Life or Encyclopedia of Life. The source field is automatically populated with one of those during an import. As already noted, these are just sources for importing names, not taxonomic authorities for iNat.

As already mentioned, the External Taxa URL when editing a Taxon Framework Relationship should only include URLs to iNat’s recognized taxonomic authority for that group, in this case POWO.

When adding a new taxon manually like you did here (instead of importing from an external source), if the taxon is accepted by POWO (or whatever relevant iNat taxonomic authority) – as this one is – then I prefer to cite POWO in the Source field also. If it is not accepted, then you would need to look up (if already available in iNat sources) or create a different source reference to document where the name is coming from. That is the main purpose of the Source field, and you could therefore cite any reference you wanted to where the name is accepted. It just help others verify that the taxon is valid.

A while back I created a generic POWO source reference that should come up if you start typing “POWO” into the Source box (unless user-created references are only visible to that user - I hope not…). That should be sufficient, without having to create a unique new POWO source reference for every new plant taxon.


Hi Jim,
Many thanks for detailed response. It’s all much clearer now.

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