An R package for mining species list, diversity estimates, and distribution data for any genus or family of flowering plants from RBG Kew’s Plants of the World Online (POWO).


The main goal of the expowo package is to retrieve information about the diversity and distribution of any plant family as publicly available at the taxonomically verified database Plants of the World Online (POWO). The package is intended to efficiently mine the content within the source HTML pages for any specific genus and family. It can return a comma-separated values (CSV) file with the number of accepted species and country-level distribution for any genus as well as the full list of accepted species in any genus or family, their authorship, original publication and global distribution. The latest major function implemented, powoMap, also can automatically create global maps for any taxon level.

Before using expowo

Update R and RStudio versions

Please make sure you have installed the latest versions of both R (Mac OS, Windows) and RStudio (Mac OS / Windows: choose the free version).


You can install the latest development version of expowo from GitHub using the devtools package with the following R code:


OBS.: To download the development version, you will need to have the Git software installed. And if your operating system is Microsoft Windows, you will also need to download the Rtools.

Otherwise, you will be able to install expowo more easily when it is available on CRAN, by just running the following R code:



The package’s major functions (powoFam, powoGenera, powoSpecies, powoSpDist, megaGen, and topGen) only require the name of the target family (or a vector with multiple family names). These major functions work with other minor functions (getGenURI, getNumb, and getDist), with auxiliary and defensive functions to mine the plant data. Respectively, getGenURI mines the URI for each genus, getNumb mines the total number of species within any genus, and getDist does a complete search for native and introduced country-level distribution for any genus and species. With this distribution, it is also possible to automatically generate global maps according to political country and botanical subdivision with the function powoMap. See the examples on how to use the expowo’s functions for mining basic information on the global plant diversity and distribution in the ‘Articles’ section in our site.


A detailed description of the expowo’s full functionality is available here.

The expowo package is being continuously constructed. If you want to make suggestions, let us know! We hope it will be helpful for your botanical research!


Zuanny, D. & Cardoso, D. (2022). expowo: An R package for mining plant diversity and distribution data. https://github.com/DBOSlab/expowo