Biodiversity Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (2): 130-137.doi: 10.17520/biods.2017078

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Floristic characteristics and diversity patterns of seed plants endemic to the Tibetan Plateau

Haibin Yu1, 2, Yili Zhang1, 3, *(), Linshan Liu1, Zhao Chen4, Wei Qi1   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275
    3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    4 Guangdong Institute of Eco-environmental Science & Technology, Guangzhou 510650;
  • Received:2017-03-14 Accepted:2017-07-01 Online:2018-05-05
  • Zhang Yili
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

The Tibetan Plateau (TP) harbors numerous seed plants, however, the floristic characteristics and diversity patterns of plants endemic to this region have been rarely studied. Based on several monographs and online databases, we compiled a list of seed plants that exclusively occur on the TP as well as their distribution at the county level. We further explored their characteristics, floristic composition and spatial distribution patterns. We identified 3,764 endemic seed plants belonging to 519 genera and 113 families, 76.3% of which are herbaceous plants. Among them, 15 families (e.g. Asteraceae, Ranunculaceae, Orobanchaceae) and 7 genera (e.g. Pedicularis, Rhododendron, Corydalis) contain over 100 endemic species. Floristic composition analysis indicates that 67.5% of these endemic plants are temperate species. Species diversity declined gradually from the southeast to the northwest with hotspots located within the East Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains. Vertically, most species occurred at intermediate elevations. Understanding floristic characteristics and diversity patterns of Tibetan endemic flora shed light on future studies on the evolutional history and conservation practices in this area.

Key words: diversity patterns, flora, endemism, alpine plant, Tibetan Plateau

Fig. 1

Percentages of families containing over 50 endemic species (a) and genera containing over 30 endemic species (b) on the Tibetan Plateau. The numbers before family or genus represent number of species they contain."

Table 1

Areal types for the genera of seed plants endemic to the Tibetan Plateau"

分布类型 Areal type 属数 Number of genera 百分比 %
1 世界分布 Cosmopolitan 40 7.7
2 泛热带 Pantropic 45 8.7
3 东亚及热带美洲间断 Tropical Asia and Tropical America disjunction 9 1.7
4 旧世界热带 Old World Tropic 16 3.1
5 热带亚洲至热带大洋洲 Tropical Asia to Tropical Australia 15 2.9
6 热带亚洲至热带非洲 Tropical Asia to Tropical Africa 13 2.5
7 热带亚洲 Tropical Asia 31 5.9
热带成分小计(2-7) Subtotal in tropical elements (types 2-7) 129 24.8
8 北温带 North Temperate 131 25.2
9 东亚及北美间断 East Asia and North America disjunction 20 3.9
10 旧世界温带 Old World Temperate 50 9.7
11 温带亚洲 Temperate Asia 11 2.1
12 地中海、西亚至中亚 Mediterranean, West Asia to Central Asia 10 1.9
13 中亚 Central Asia 19 3.6
14 东亚 East Asia 65 12.6
15 中国特有 Endemic to China 44 8.5
温带成分小计(8-15) Subtotal in temperate elements (types 8-15) 350 67.5
总计 Total 519 100.0

Fig. 2

Diversity patterns of endemic seed plants on the Tibetan Plateau at the county level (a) and floristic level (b). The codes correspond to the name of county and floristic region on the Tibetan Plateau in Appendix 1."

Fig. 3

Species richness of different growth forms of endemic seed plants along elevational gradients. (a), All species; (b), Herb; (c), Shrub; (d), Tree."

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