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What is SysTax?

SysTax is a botanical information system based on the relational data base management system ORACLE (ORACLE corporation). It supports all tasks in systematic botany, and, in addition, the administration of botanical gardens, herbaria and other collections.

SysTax saves plant names in the so-called Systematic Nucleus. Its particular strength lies in the possibility to deal with multi-level synonymy. The input of new plant names undergoes a check according to the rules of the Code, as far as they can be automatized.

Plant names once stored are available for all other uses requiring these names. Above all, this will be the revisionary work itself, where names need to be linked to specimens, literature, distribution and characters. However, the names are also available for label making and administration of herbaria and botanical gardens.

SysTax has been conceived as multi-user system. It can be used parallel by several persons at the same institution, as well as by several institutions. The Systematic Nucleus is shared between all users, while datasets of single users or institutions are stored separately. Of course, these data can also be shared, if so desired.

Task Profile:

Taxonomic work

  • Hierarchical storage of names in 22 levels
  • Flexible multi-level synonymy
  • Linkage of taxa with literature and specimens
  • Linkage of taxa with characters and character states to allow output in DELTA compatible format
  • Data output in formats suitable for direct use in revisions


  • Storage and administration of references
  • Cross-referencing literature data and taxa

Botanical Garden

  • Storage and administration of garden accession data
  • Label printing
  • Retrieval of accession lists
  • Creation of seed catalogues
  • Mailing lists for seed catalogues and seeds
  • 'Botanical Garden Information System'


  • Storage and administration of herbarium label data
  • Administration of loans
  • Printing of herbarium labels


Collaboration and Data Exchange:

The SysTax database located in Ulm can be accessed by any PC via KERMIT or by any other computer via the INTERNET. The use of the program in Ulm is completely free of charge.

A login for the main database can be issued on request. A separate, small database serves for testing the program without corrupting the main database.

Data from other databases can be imported into SysTax as ASCII- or dbase files. Data exchange with database systems with SQL capacities can be conducted via an SQL-query. The easiest way for data exchange is the XDF format (eXchange Data Format, by Allkin and White 1989).

The data stored in the system will be made accessible through the WWW facilities in the near future.


An independent installation can be carried out on any PC, workstation or mainframe computer. An ORACLE licence for the appropriate operating system is required; SysTax itself is distributed free of charge.

The SysTax computer in Ulm: HP9000/800 Mod. E55, 128 MB RAM, 4GB HDD & 9GB HDD, DAT and CD-ROM drive; HP-UX 10.20


Future Plans:

  • Inclusion of zoological nomenclature
  • Extension of the interactive identification program TaxDet, available as prototype
  • Illustration storage and retrieval
  • Plotting of distribution maps from geographical coordinates
  • Data retrieval with World Wide Web
SysTax has been conceived and developed by Th. Stützel, J.R. Hoppe (botany) and E.Boos (software engeneering). Support has been granted by the University of Ulm, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the German Society for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH, and the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF). Internet address / FTP server: (

Jürgen R. Hoppe, Evelin Boos
Abteilung Spezielle Botanik
Universität Ulm
D-89069 Ulm

Fax: 0731 - 502- 2720
Tel.: 0731 - 502 - 2703

Thomas Stützel
Spezielle Botanik,
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Universitätsstrasse 150
D-44801 Bochum

Tel.: 0234 - 700 - 4491
Fax: 0234 - 7094 - 284

© J.R. Hoppe & E. Boos,
Universität Ulm
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