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The Sonoran Plant Atlas

Sonoran Desert Plants: An Ecological Atlas by Raymond M. Turner, Janice E. Bowers, and Tony L. Burgess, is an enlarged and fully-revised version of the original 1972 atlas. The book describes the taxonomy, geographic distribution, and ecology of 339 plants, most of them common and characteristic trees, shrubs, or succulents. Sonoran Desert Plants: An Ecological Atlas can be ordered from The University of Arizona Press.

Notice: In order to facilitate archival of the Sonoran Plant Atlas site (Fall 2017), the content has been streamlined and simplified. Previously, there were separate alphabetical pages containing links to individual species data files. There was also a separate page explaining the formatting of these data files. The individual data files are now presented in a single zip archive (1.75 MB) and the data file format is explained below.

Each data file in the zip archive contains entries for one species in a fixed-width text format, and is named with the species code used in The Sonoran Plant Atlas project. In most cases, the species code is comprised of the first two letters each of the plant's genus and species.

There are over 2,700 individual data files in the archive; a great number of these contain only a few data points and were not included in Sonoran Desert Plants: An Ecological Atlas.

You can also download a listing of genus and species names with their associated codes in Microsoft Excel format (230 KB).

Data File Explanation

This file explains the data layout and codes used in The Sonoran Plant Atlas database. A small number of records have typographical errors or unlisted codes. These incidences are rare, and in many cases the correct value can be deduced (for example, a year entered 095 is probably 995).

Please note that the latitude was modified for a limited number of entries in order to facilitate plotting the data on a map inset. Such values are typically 60 degrees or larger. Unfortunately the true latitude is not available for these entries.

Sonoran Plant Atlas Data Fields and Codes
Column PositionLengthField NameDescription
13YearLast 3 digits of year
42MonthNumber of month, 0-12
61Observation TypeLetter code:
C - Collector's note on voucher of species generally found in area
F - Herbarium photo of type specimen
H - Herbarium voucher
L - List of associated species on herbarium voucher
P - Publication
U - Unpublished (see source in next field)
71Source CodeLetter code:
If letter code in column 6 is C, F, H or L:
A - University of Arizona, Tucson
B - University Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
C - Botany Dept., California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
D - Dudley Herbarium of Stanford University, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
F - Walter B. McDougall Herbarium, Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff
G - Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, Massachusetts
H - Annetta Carter collection, probably incorporated into University of California, Berkeley
J - Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
M - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
N - New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York
O - California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
P - Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix
Q - Any herbarium
R - Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont
S - San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego
T - University of Texas, Austin
U - U.S. National Herbarium, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
V - Arizona State University, Tempe
X - University of California, Riverside
Z - Tumamoc Hill Desert Laboratory, Tucson
If letter code in column 6 is U:
B - Bingham
D - Darrow or Ducote
F - Felger
G - Gentry
J - Henrickson
H - Annetta Carter or James R. Hastings
M - Moran
O - Oral report; initials of observer are in columns 44-46
P - A. M. Phillips
T - Turner and Hastings
U - D. E. Brown, N. P. Carmony, and R. M. Turner
V - T. R. Van Devender
W - Wiggins
X - Observer in columns 44-46
Z - Fred Wiseman
84ElevationElevation in meters rounded to nearest five
123LatitudeNorth latitude to nearest tenth degree, no decimal
154LongitudeWest longitude to nearest tenth degree, no decimal
194Distance to WaterDistance east of water in meters (obsolete)
232Vegetation TypeLetter code:
DA - Arizona Upland
DC - Central Gulf Coast
DF - Foothills of Sonora
DL - Lower Colorado Valley
DM - Magdalena Region
DN - Mojave Desert
DP - Plains of Sonora
DQ - Indeterminate desert scrub
DV - Vizcaino Region
FT - Transition, DF to NT
NC - Chaparral
ND - Deteriorated grassland
NE - Upper Encinal
NF - Cape Forest
NG - Grassland
NO - Oak Woodlands-Savannah
NP - PiƱon-Juniper
NQ - Transition, NT to NS, or indeterminate
NR - Riparian
NS - Short-Tree forest
NT - Thorn forest
TD - Transition, desert to non-desert
252Regression RegionObsolete
271DepositionOrigin of soil and mode of deposition - letter code:
A- Alluvium
B - Beach deposits
C - Colluvium
D - Dunes
G - Gypsum
L - Lacustrine
M - Marine
V - Volcanic ash
X - Internal database code
Y - Internal database code
281Rock TypeDominant rock type of soil origin - letter code:
A - Caliche or calcareous
B - Basalt
C - Conglomerate
D - Andesite
E - Lava
G - Granite
H - Shale
L - Limestone
M - Metamorphic (schist, gneiss)
N - Mudstone or siltstone
R - Rhyolite
S - Sandstone
T - Tuff
V - Unspecified volcanic
291PermeabilitySurface permeability of soil (obsolete)
301FinenessSoil texture - letter code:
C - Clayey (clay loam through clay)
L - Loamy (loamy sands, sandy loams, loam, silt)
S - Sandy (all sand, coarse through fine)
311StoninessStoniness of soil - letter code:
G - Gravelly
N - Not stony
P - Pebbly, or desert pavement
R - Rocky
S - Stony
321TerrainSoil slope classes of Soil Survey Manual - letter code:
A - Level or nearly level areas
B - Gently undulating, undulating, or gently sloping surface
C - Gently rolling, rolling, or moderately sloping
D - Strongly sloping or hilly
E - Very hilly or mountainous
331PhysiographyLetter code:
A - Wash borders
B - Bajada
C - Coastal plain, including beach
D - Sand dunes
E - Sand dunes and coastal plain
F - Undrained basin, playa, bolson
G -
H - Hillside or hills
I -
J - Roadside
K -
L - Cliffs
M - Mountainside or mountain
N - Mesa
P - Plains
Q - Riparian, permanent or semipermanent
R - Ridge, divide
S - Saline flat, either marine or inland
T - Terrace
U - Valley or wash, together with adjacent hills
V - Valley
W - Canyon or wash
X - River floodplain
Y - Salt marsh, including mangroves, tidally inundated
Z -
341Community CoverVisual estimate or perennial plant cover in 10% intervals - numeric code:
0 - 0-10%
1 - 10-20%
2 - 20-30%
3 - 30-40%
4 - 40-50%
5 - 50-60%
6 - 60-70%
7 - 70-80%
8 - 80-90%
9 - 90-100%
354SpeciesFour-letter code comprised of the first two letters each of the plant's genus and species
391EvidenceEvidence for data - letter code:
V - Voucher
S - Sighting
L - List: unknown whether voucher or sighting (use for Darrow and publications).
401AbundanceLetter code:
A - Abundant
C - Common
O - Occasional
R - Rare
411FloweringLetter code:
Y - Yes
N - No
O - Old
421FruitLetter code:
Y - Yes
N - No
O - Old
431LeavesLetter code:
Y - Yes
N - No
O - Old
443CollectorInitials of collector
475Collection NumberFive-digit code
5223VacantNo data
751Type StopLetter code:
C - Conglomerate: species seen between T stops, at more than one site, but grouped together as one list
S - Supplementary: incomplete species list from a single site
T - True: all species noted, existing together
X - Stake: followed by stake number in 76-79, no longer used
764MileageTo closest tenth, without decimal point, or alphanumeric code to identify stand

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