A current estimate of angiosperm diversity in Mexico

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Abstract:

The importance of documenting the plants of Mexico is undeniable considering its status as a country with biological megadiversity on one hand and the accelerated destruction of its ecosystems on the other. Ten years ago we started to compile species lists and literature for the monocotyledons that grow in Mexico, in an attempt to at least partially remedy the current lack of botanical knowledge that exists in the country. Individual electronic databases of nomenclature, bibliography, and herbarium specimens were developed. Currently these databases contain 15,560, 6,700, and 42,000 records, respectively. To date we have registered for the country 4,529 species (or 4,797 taxa including subspecies and varieties) distributed in 619 genera and 60 families (sensu Dahlgren & al., 1985). Of the total number of families, seven include only introduced representatives, whereas the other 53 possess at least some native species. The number of native species is 4,424 (4,693 taxa including subspecies and varieties). A comparison of the data obtained by us together with data reported in various floristic lists of Mexican states, as well as that from some completed regional floras, allows us to obtain statistical estimates that indicate Mexico should possess between 21,300 and 24,601 species of angiosperms. As a final perspective on the importance of the Mexican flora, if the estimate of number of seed plant species in the world is really 223,300 (Scotland & Wortley, 2003), and if we accept the estimate of number of species for Mexico as 24,601, then Mexico would have 11.01 % of the total seed plant species diversity of the entire planet.

Keywords: ANGIOSPERMS; BIODIVERSITY; MEXICO

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Depto Biología, Div. CBS. UAM-Iztapalapa, México, D. F. 2: Depto Biología, Div. CBS. UAM-Iztapalapa, México, D. F.; Carrera de Biología, F.E.S. Zaragoza, U.N.A.M.

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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