The Checklist is designed to mention all Latin scientific names that have been applied to Cuban plants through the centuries, assigning each to its taxon; and for each taxon, to establish the name that, according to the results of modern systematic research, is deemed to be correct and recommended for use. In particular, all those names have been included that were accepted in the basic floristic works dealing with the Cuban flora (Richard in Sagra 1841-1851, 1845, 1850, Grisebach 1860-1862, 1866, Wright in Sauvalle 1873, Gómez & Roig 1914, Flora de Cuba and its Supplement), with their basionyms and replaced synonyms, if any; as well as all names based on a type of Cuban origin. In addition we took into account names that appear in the important botanical literature related to Cuba, e. g. the works of Hammer & al. (1992-1994), Berazaín & al. (2005), González-Torres & al. (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013), Roig (2012, 2014, and earlier editions), and González-Oliva & al. (2014, 2015) – even though coverage, for these publications, may still be incomplete.
The Checklist is limited to taxa in the rank of species and subspecies (genus names are not registered separately). For each taxon the family to which we assign it is given. In addition, we mention the (sometimes different) family to which it is assigned in the Flora de la República de Cuba (when already treated in that work), in the Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies, and in Flora of Cuba.
Two categories of taxa are considered: (1) those which are accepted as members of the Cuban flora, which were fully treated or will be so treated in the Flora de la República de Cuba; and (2) those which, although they appear in the botanical literature relating to the island, are not recognized as Cuban and, in the Flora, are only mentioned by name [which name, in the Checklist, is bracketed]. The criteria for inclusion or exclusion are those defined in the author guidelines for the Flora de la República de Cuba (Greuter & Rankin 2010). In particular, rare adventitious or subspontaneous taxa of ephemeral presence are excluded, as are those that are cultivated only occasionally or are no longer grown; also excluded are taxa of which the presence on the island remains doubtful or that were cited for Cuba in error, including those designated by names of uncertain identity; whereas, in addition to indigenous and definitely or at least possibly naturalized exotic plants, adventitious species encountered with some frequency and major crop plants are included, as are named hybrids that arise or have arisen in nature.
For each taxon the distribution is given, but the presence in the individual Cuban provinces is still lacking for most families in this preliminary edition. If present, provincial limits are those of the island’s political-administrative units of 2010, and data presentation follows the model of the Flora de la República de Cuba, by which western Cuba (provinces Pinar del Río, Artemisa, La Habana, Mayabeque, Matanzas, and Municipio especial Isla de la Juventud), central Cuba (provinces Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, and Las Tunas), and eastern Cuba (provinces Granma, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba, and Guantánamo) are mentioned in that order. The extra-Cuban distribution starts with the islands of the Caribbean: Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Lesser Antilles (including the Virgin Islands, but without South America’s offshore islands), Bahamas, and Caymans Islands; followed by the Americas with North America (including Mexico), Central America and South America; and eventually the other continents, which are referred to globally as “Old World”.