6. Keys:


6.1 Keys will be included for all taxa treated in the Flora of China. Keys to genera and infrafamilial taxa will be directly after the family description. Keys to species and infrageneric taxa will be placed directly after the generic description. Keys to infraspecific taxa will follow the specific description.


6.2 Keys will be dichotomous and in general artificial (see also paragraphs 12.1, 12.12, 12.13, and 26.7). Special attention must be given to the utility of keys for identifying specimens. If the two leads of a key have an unequal number of taxa, the lead with the fewer taxa will be first.


6.3 The halves of each dichotomy will be unambiguous and contrasting. The order of characters in each lead of the key will be the same and should be from most diagnostically important to least important. Multiple-entry keys will not be used. However, when needed, a taxon can be keyed out more than once. Whenever possible, keys should include characters that can be seen from both flowering and fruiting plants.


6.4 Keys that contradict the descriptions will not be allowed. For example, if a lead in a key states that the leaves are lanceolate to ovate, all the taxa that are keyed out under this lead must have leaves that fall within this shape range. The key lead will have to be changed if the actual descriptions state that leaves include shapes that are outside this range.


6.5 It is recommended that authors write keys after the descriptions have been written and base the keys on the descriptions. The reason for this recommendation is to eliminate the problems of keys that contradict the descriptions (see 6.4).