Cuc Phuong National Park is a 20,480-hectare (Vo et al.,
1996) forest-covered hilly limestone formation located about
100 km southwest of Hanoi, Vietnam. The greater portion of forest
cover on this tract of land is of evergreen, broadleaf tropical
rain forest. In 1998, an international collaborative effort was
initiated to inventory the seed plants of this park, as one of
the specific aims of an International Cooperative Biodiversity
Groups (ICBG) program based at the University of Illinois at
Chicago (UIC) (Soejarto et al., 1999). This inventory
effort was necessary, because the existing catalogues of plants
of this park (Anonymous, 1971, 1992, 1996, 1997; Nguyen Nghia Thin,
1997) merely list plant names (Latin binomials), without reference
to any herbarium specimens. Documentation is crucial, since it would
allow verification of names should questions arise regarding
taxonomic identification of listed species. According to these
catalogues, close to 2,000 plant species are found in the park, of
which about 1,700 comprise the flowering plants. This inventory task
falls under the responsibility of Associate Program 1, one of the
five Associate Program components of the UIC ICBG.
One goal of the UIC ICBG is to produce a documented Checklist of
the seed plants of this national park. Such a database would provide
scientists and other users who have interest in plants of Cuc Phuong
National Park, and of Vietnam in general, with a comprehensive
searchable database of the seed plants found in the park. Since only
a few species of gymnosperms are found growing in this park, the bulk
of the database comprises the angiosperms (flowering plants).
Only the seed plants, but specifically, the flowering plants, were
chosen for study, because (1) the flowering plants represent the bulk
of the floristic component of the vegetation of the park, (2) this
plant group represents the most important source of plant-derived
drugs in clinical use worldwide, and, in the context of rationale #2,
(3) the discovery of bioactive compounds from plants of Cuc Phuong
National Park is one of the three goals of the UIC ICBG (also referred
to as Vietnam-Laos ICBG).
PRIMARY DATA SOURCES
Two data sources were used as the basis for the inventory.
These are, first, plant data from newly collected herbarium
specimens, second, plant data from existing (historical)
Project (new) collections
In collecting new herbarium specimens, either for purposes
of inventory, as well as for providing voucher herbarium
documentation of samples collected for drug screening,
standard botanical collecting methods are used. Both
samples and herbarium specimens are dried at the Herbarium
of the Cuc Phuong National Park, following methods already
published (Soejarto, 1993; Soejarto et al., 1996),
and duplicate specimens are distributed to the following
herbaria: CPNP (Herbarium of the Cuc Phuong National
Park, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh), HN (Herbarium of
the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources/IEBR,
National Center for Science and Technology, Hanoi),
HNU (Herbarium of the Vietnam National University,
Hanoi), F (Herbarium of the Field Museum, Chicago),
and P (Herbarium of the Laboratoire de Phanerogamie,
National Museum of Natural History, Paris).
Taxonomic determination of specimens collected is performed
initially at CPNP, but the major effort takes place
at IEBR, with the cooperation of staff taxonomists of
this institution. Taxonomic identification is also undertaken
at F. Additionally, the cooperation of taxonomic specialists
from other foreign institutions is also sought in the
In addition to the new collections, more than 5,000
herbarium collections (referred to as existing/historical
collections) were already deposited at the Herbarium
of the Cuc Phuong National Park when the inventory work
was initiated. These are collections made in the park,
starting early in 1960's, when the park was established.
The bulk of the collection, however, comprises specimens
collected between 1970 and 1990. These specimens were
re-examined, re- identified, and the field label data
were registered. In the process, a series of challenging
problems had to be faced, such as incorrect determinations,
incomplete determinations, name changes and inconsistency
of names, incomplete or vague locality data, and different
interpretation of family and genus concepts. At this
stage, historical collections originated from Cuc Phuong
National park in deposit at other herbaria, such as
at HN, HNU, and P have only been partially examined.
All the specimen-based information is used to generate
a taxon list which is rigorously checked in the taxonomic
literature for accuracy and standardization of plant
and author names. Standardization creates uniformity
among the records, which facilitates data sorting and
analysis. We take advantage of the taxonomic databases
currently available in the World Wide Web that provide
rapid retrieval of information on these plants, namely,
Missouri Botanical Garden's Tropicos, a nomenclatural
database and associated authority files
and International Plant Names Index (IPNI), a database
of the names and associated basic bibliographical details
of all seed plants (
http://www.ipni.org)based at the Kew Herbarium.
DATA FROM OTHER SOURCES
Data files were designed to capture secondary information
about specimens and names cited in the literature. The
data include type specimen information and synonymy
from taxonomic monographs and revisions, as well as
names cited in existing Cuc Phuong Checklist (Nguyen
Nghia Thin, 1997) and Vietnam floras (Aubreville and
Leroy, 1960- present; Pham Hoang Ho, 1991-93).
This Atlas is one product of the inventory effort,
which is still in the process of building.It incorporates
all the information gathered on each species, such as
nomenclature, literature citation, specimens examined,
illustrations, photographs, place of collection in the
park (designated as "Sites"), overall geographic
distribution, and conservation status.
Another product of the inventory effort is in the printed form,
namely, a Checklist (a book) (Soejarto et al., 2004).
Both the online and the printed output are under continuing
process of updating and revision.
Specimen data of ICBG project collections are initially
registered in NAPIS® (
www.wps2.com), a software that provides comprehensive tracking of samples from
the field to the laboratory. On the other hand, specimen
data from historical collections are entered into a
simplified database using Microsoft Excel, because the
information on the field label is rather incomplete
and does not conform with the relational database structure
The combined data from project and historical collections
are exported into a Microsoft SQL Server database management
system (PlantDB). The Plant Atlas web pages are generated
directly from the PlantDB database using the ASP program
language served from Microsoft's Internet Information
Server. Maps are generated directly from PlantDB using
ESRI ArcIMS technology residing on a Microsoft
NT server. Because the Plant Atlas web site is generated
directly from PlantDB, all web pages and maps are as
up-to-date as the information entered into the database.
The technology used in this Atlas was adapted from
the Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants (www.plantatlas.usf.edu).
The application was modified by Shawn Landry of the
Florida Center for Community Design and Research (University of South Florida)
and Jeb Holub of Axis Technologies, Inc. The PlantDB and all web pages are licensed for use with the Cuc Phuong Atlas; Unauthorized usage is strictly prohibited. Questions regarding the technology and/or licensing can be directed to
Shawn Landry (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Field explorations and taxonomic studies performed as part of
this inventory effort is funded, in part, by NIH Grants 1-UO1-TW001015
(1998-2003) and 2-UO1-TW001015 (2003-2009), International Cooperative
Biodiversity Groups Program, through funds from NIH, NSF, and USDA FAS
Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA). Support received from the
Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences (PCRPS)
of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of
Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, in the licensing of the
application technology from the University of South Florida, is gratefully
The authors of this Atlas thank all fellow-botanists
for their cooperation in the identification and re-identification
of plants of Cuc Phuong National Park. Special thanks
go to field personnel of the Cuc Phuong National Park,
without whose support the inventory process could not
have been accomplished. Thanks are also expressed to
the Directors of the herbaria of the Cuc Phuong National
Park, Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources,
Hanoi National University, and the Field Museum, for
the permission to use their collections and for providing
space and facilities for the study. Permit for the collection
and export of plant specimens were granted by the Ministry
of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hanoi, through
a letter dated September 15, 1998, Ref. No. 3551/BNN/KHCN,
and from the Cuc Phuong National Park, through a letter
dated September 16, 1998.
Anonymous. 1971. List of Cuc Phuong Plants. Research
Division, Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.
Anonymous. 1992. Danh luc thuc vat Cuc Phuong (Update
List of the Cuc Phuong Flora. Hanoi. 99 pp. (in Vietnamese).
Anonymous. 1996. Tinh da dang thuc vat o Cuc Phuong.
Plant Diversity of Cuc Phuong National Park (A compilation
edited by Phung Ngoc Lan, Nguyen Nghia Thin and Nguyen
Ba Thu). Agriculture Publishing House, Hanoi. 187 pp.
(in Vietnamese, with an English summary).
Anonymous. 1997. Danh luc thuc vat Cuc Phuong. List
of Plants of Cuc Phuong (A compilation edited by Le
Van Tac, Tran Quang Chuc, Nguyen Manh Cuong, Le Phuong
Trieu, Luong KhacHien and Do Xuan Lap). Agriculture
Publishing House, Hanoi. 180 pp. (in Vietnamese).
Aubreville, A. and J.F. Leroy (eds.). 1960- . Flore
du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam. Museum National
d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 20 fascicles to-date.
Nguyen Nghia Thin. 1997. The Vegetation of Cuc Phuong
National Park, Vietnam. Sida 17(4): 719-759.
Pham, Hoang Ho. 1991-93. Cayco Vietnam. An Illustrated
Flora of Vietnam.3 vols., 6 parts. Mekong Printing,
Santa Ana, California.
Soejarto, D.D. 1993. Logistics and politics in plant
drug discovery: The other end of the spectrum. In: Human
Medicinal Agents from Plants, A.D. Kinghorn and M. Balandrin
(Eds.), pp. 98-111. American Chemical Society, Washington,
Soejarto, D.D., C. Gyllenhaal, P.S. Ashton and S.H.
Sohmer. 1996. Plant explorations in Asia under the sponsorship
of the National Cancer Institute 1986-1991: an overview.
In: Medicinal Resources of the Tropical Forests, M.J.
Balick, E. Elisabetsky and S. Laird (eds.). Chapter
21, pp. 284-310. Columbia University Press.
Soejarto, D.D., C. Gyllenhaal, J.C. Regalado, J.M.
Pezzuto, H.S. Fong, G.T. Tan, T.H. Nguyen, T.X. Le,
Q.B. Do, V.H. Nguyen, Q.B. Truong, N.T. Nguyen, K.L.
Phan, M.V. Bui, B.H. Southavong, K. Sydara, S. Bouamanivong,
M.J. O'Neill, J. Lewis, X.M. Xie, and G. Dietzman. 1999.
Studies on biodiversity of Vietnam and Laos: A UIC-based
ICBG Program. Pharmaceutical Biology 37 (Suppl.):100-113.
Soejarto, D.D., Hiep, N.T., Loc, P.K, Cuong, N.M., Bien,
L.K., Dai, T.D., Regalado, J., Kadushin, M.R., Huong, N.T.T.,
Bich, T.Q. 2004. Seed Plants of Cuc Phuong National Park:
A Documented Checklist. Agriculture Publishing House,
Hanoi, i-xxxiv, 760 pp, 99 pls.
Vo, Q., B.T. Nguyen, D.D. Ha, V.T. Tac. 1996. Vuon
quoc gia Cuc Phuong. Cuc Phuong National Park. Agricultural
Publishing House, Hanoi. 59 pp.
Contributors to the Atlas of Seed Plants of Cuc Phuong
The authors of the Atlas graciously thank all individuals
and institutions who have made contributions to the
Atlas and to CPNP Database. Since this Atlas is an ongoing
project, the authors encourage users to contact the
project staff with new information. Such new information
will be used to update the Atlas periodically.
This Atlas is a specimen-derived database. All new
determination and other data submitted for inclusion
in the database must be backed by a voucher specimen
deposited at a recognized herbarium (not personal collections).
It is encouraged that the voucher specimen or a duplicate
be sent to HN and/or F for verification.
Contact the authors:
To comment on the Atlas of Seed Plants of Cuc Phuong
National Park or to provide distribution data, contact
the project staff:
Dr. Djaja Doel Soejarto
Dr. Marian R. Kadushin
PCRPS, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at
Chicago, 833 S. Wood St., Chicago, IL 60612, USA and
Department of Botany, Field Museum, Roosevelt Road at
Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, USA.
Last updated: Feb 16, 2009
All photographs are copyright protected. The primary
source of the photographs used in this Atlas comes from
photographs (slide and digital) taken by D.D. Soejarto.
Other photographs submitted by Nguyen Tien Hiep and
Nguyen Manh Cuong were also used. Line drawings used
in this Atlas were prepared by Mr. Bui Xuan Cuong, Hanoi,