PalDat - A useful tool for identifying recent and fossil pollen

Martina Weber, Silvia Ulrich

Pollen grains are highly valuable for various branches of science (e.g., palaeobotany, forensic palynology, melissopalynology, aero-palynology). For scientists, a fast and efficient access to pollen data is essential. PalDat ( is the world’s most comprehensive pollen database. It provides a large amount of pollen data on a variety of plant families, and currently contains more than 24,000 pictures from more than 2,800 plant species. PalDat was founded in 1997 and is online since 2000. PalDat 3.0 is the second revision of the database in 2015 with a new web interface and new tools for pollen identification as well as global, free on-line submission and publication with review and editorial process. From the beginning, PalDat aspired to cover a wide spectrum of users, by providing pollen data including different techniques and preparation methods. Each taxon entry (online publication) ideally includes the plant taxonomy, a detailed pollen description (e.g., shape, size, aperture, ornamentation, structure, cell number, Ubisch bodies), light- and electron-microscopy images of the pollen grain, images of the plant/flower, and information on relevant literature.
PalDat is an identification tool for recent and fossil pollen. Two search tools can be used in PalDat, an alphabetical (plant genera) and a combined search. The “Combined Search” is a tool for directed search, based on selected pollen characters in any combination. The search results are displayed in a taxonomic tree (currently based on APG III, but upgraded to APG IV soon). Within the taxonomic tree, the user can select an order, a family, genus or species. Moreover, species can be sorted, selected and compared.
Furthermore, PalDat is a tool for global online submission and publicationwith review and editorial process. The data-base is freely accessible. Following a free registration it is open for contributions from all those willing to publish their pollen data online. Registered authors may also contribute as co-authors to existing publications. All changes are reviewed to guarantee the high standard of PalDat and are recorded in the database history. Each contribution is citable and accessible for all users. Registered users can download publications in pdf form.
PalDat 3.0 is designed in a modular way so that extensions to new APG systems and other fields of science may be implemented in an easy and agile process. Future plans include, among other features, a database for fossil pollen and spore data (FosPal), with an interface to PalDat.

Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research
Publication date
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106008 Botany, 106049 Ultrastructure research
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