The exploration of global plant diversity has made great progress towards documenting most species on the planet, and the economic benefits of this have been enormous. Linnaeus concluded that ‘the number of plants in the whole world is much less than commonly believed, I ascertained by fairly safe calculation it hardly reaches 10 000’ (Linnaeus 1753, p. 4). The most recent estimates, crude as they are, place the total number of plant species at ca. 420 000 (Govaerts 2001; Bramwell 2002). But despite evident progress with both the exploration of plant genomes and the exploration of plant diversity, there is still much to be done. In both areas of our science, further basic underpinning documentation is fundamental to our ability to make progress in the future.