Names recorded in this site come from a variety of sources: botanical literature, herbarium specimens, and field information taken by ourselves from local informants. All these data are kept in a database, wherein each record represents a common name applied to a plant species in a particular area at a given moment. In many cases there are several records documenting the use of a name for a species. Such multiple records of the same name help to confirm the authenticity of its use, and to establish its geographical distribution.
While searching for names in the literature, we have revised most relevant publications dealing with plants in Colombia, as well as the works of several explorers who have traveled in the country. Herbarium specimens include plant samples gathered by botanist over the past 220 years, and kept at the country’s major herbaria. These specimens, carefully preserved, often bear in their labels information on the common name the plant received at the place it was collected.
Field work, on the other hand, is the most reliable source of common names, if information is backed by a proper identification of the involved plant, which is usually achieved by collecting a herbarium specimen. Our own field work with peasants, loggers, traditional healers, artisans, housewives, and many other people, has been a priceless source of information on plant common names and uses.