Mapping Species Distributions

photo by Brian Klinkenberg photo by Brian Klinkenberg photo by Brian Klinkenberg



Editor and Project Coordinator: Brian Klinkenberg
Read the Acknowledgements Section to learn about participants

E-Flora BC is a GIS-based biogeographic atlas of the vascular plants, bryophytes, fungi and lichens of British Columbia.  It compiles scientific information on BC's wild species but also incorporates volunteered geographic information (VGI) through a significant citizen science component--a citizen-contributed photo gallery of species.  In order to ensure that citizen-contributed data has high validity and accuracy, all photo contributions are vetted for identification accuracy by botanical experts.

This sort of project, where citizen and expert data are used to build a knowledge-base, is at the forefront of data gathering in biodiversity research.  E-Flora BC is one of a growing number of VGI projects across North America.

Read our citizen science page for more details.

Which species does E-Flora cover?


Species included in the atlas are those that are considered part of the official flora of BC as determined by the BC Conservation Data Centre (vascular plants, lichens and bryophytes) and by Ian Gibson (fungi). We also include species in adjacent regions where that information is available to us. We cover species that are native, naturalized, invasive and at-risk. Information on incoming or non-established species is also provided. Species that have been excluded from the flora are also noted.


In addition to species information, E-Flora provides substantial information on the vegetation of BC, and on other botanical topics.  Use the menu on the home page to access essays on taxonomy, the vegetation of BC and more. 

Pink fawn lilly (Erythronium revolutum), photo by David Blevins.

What is found on our atlas pages?


 Each species page, or atlas page, in E-Flora includes:


  • a dynamic interactive GIS map that shows distribution in the province based upon vouchered records (both collection records and citizen-contributed photo records), with additional observation-based data layers available.  The data behind the dots may be viewed.
  • a species photo, where available
  • status information as provided by the BC Conservation Data Centre
  • species descriptions, where available
  • related biogeographic links
  • similar species information, where available
  • additional ecological information


Maps are central to E-Flora BC


E-Flora BC is an unusual atlas iniative as it provides dynamic interactive GIS mapping rather than static distribution maps.  The dynamic nature of the maps means our distribution mapping is very current.  The data used to produce the maps is updated frequently.  The GIS nature of the maps means that users can view single or multiple layers of data information by selecting or unselecting the layers they wish to view.  Signnificantly, uers can view collection data from a variety of institutions as well as citizen-collected voucher photo data for the province. 


As an added feature, our GIS maps allow users to explore correlations between species distributions and topography, BEC Zones, etc.


E-Flora BC is part of a broader initiative

E-Flora BC is part of a broader initiative that has evolved since its inception.  It is one of three projects on the biodiversity and biogeography of British Columbia that provides documentation on the wild species of the province. This includes two comprehensive atlases (E-Flora BC and E-Fauna BC) and an umbrella website (Biodiversity of British Columbia) that introduces biodiversity concepts.

Villous Cinquefoil (Potentilla villosa), photo by Dave Ingram

The Foundations: What information has been brought online on E-Flora BC?

The botanical information provided in E-Flora includes text from several major botanical publications in the province that has now been brought online in a single location. These publications are:

  • Illustrated Flora of British Columbia (8 volumes) (George Douglas, Del Medeinger, Jim Pojar, and Gerald Straley)
  • Some Common Mosses of British Columbia (Wilf Schofield)
  • North Pacific Seaweeds (Rita O'Clair and Sandra Lindstrom)
  • Lichens of British Columbia (2 volumes) (Trevor Goward, Bruce McCune, and Del Medeinger)
  • Indicator Plants of British Columbia (Karel Klinka, Adolf Ceska, Anna Scagel and Vladimir J. Krajina).

Additonally, the fungi section on E-Flora BC is derived from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (Ian Gibson)

Use E-Flora BC to access these resources easily online.

What other information has been added to E-Flora BC?

In addition to text from the above sources, new material has also been incorporated into E-Flora BC. This includes:

  • ecological frameworks have been added for many BC vascular plant species, which is derived from analysis of the provincial BEC database
  • information on flower colour and bloom period, based on the USDA Plants Database, has been added
  • synonyms for our BC species have been incorporated, based on the USDA Plants Database
  • the first atlas pages for the liverworts of BC prepared by the late Wilf Schofield have now been added--species introductions are currently being added
  • similar species notes have been added for many invasive species and species at risk, more notes are being added

Click here to view all of the sources of information used in E-Flora BC.

Arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata). Photo by Doug Skilton

The best way to view E-Flora BC

E-Flora BC presents many photographs by BC photographers and botanists.  For best viewing of this site, we recommend that you colour balance your monitor in order to bring the colours to life.  For directions on how to do this, visit David Blevins' photography page. Instructions for balancing your monitor are given there.

Copyright Information

Photos, illustrations and text on E-Flora BC are subject to Canadian Copyright Laws. Please contact the respective copyright holder if you wish to use any copyrighted material. Information on who owns copyright and who has given permissions may be found on our About the Data section.

For photos, please refer also to the Image FAQs for additional copyright information.  This information also applies to other material found on E-Flora BC.

Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum), photo by David Blevins




Recommended citation:  Author, date, page title. In: Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia []. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Date Accessed]

E-Flora BC: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography UBC, and the UBC Herbarium.

© Copyright 2021 E-Flora BC.