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How many species of seed plants are there?

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Abstract:

Recent estimates of the number of described species of seed plant have varied by as much as 62%. The underlying methodology of these estimates is characterised and discussed. We present a revised figure for the number of seed plants based on estimating rates of synonymy in a sample of recently monographed taxa. We conclude that some recent figures overestimate the number of described seed plant species by more than 200,000. This discrepancy is explained by an over-reliance on checklists and floristic studies that underestimate synonymy rates.

Keywords: CHECKLISTS; MONOGRAPHS; SEED PLANTS; SPECIES DIVERSITY; SYNONYMY

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Rd., Oxford, OX1 3RB, U.K.

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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