The Ecological Flora Database contains information on the ecology of British gymnosperms and angiosperms. The methods used to collect data and the structure of the database are described. The database can be used to retrieve information about a particular species or ecological characteristic and also to ask comparative questions of the data. Two examples are given: the first concerns the stomatal distribution of species which are favoured by different levels of habitat shade; and the second concerns the geographical range of species which reproduce by seed, vegetatively or by both. Species growing in habitats with little or no shade tend to have stomata distributed over both leaf surfaces, whereas those living in shaded habitats have the majority of stomata on the lower epidermis. Species which reproduce both by seed and vegetatively occur in more lO-km squares in Britain and in more European countries than species which reproduce either predominantly by seed or predominantly vegetatively.
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