Biodiv Sci ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (2): 217-224.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015049

Special Issue: 中国生物物种编目进展

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Overview of higher plant diversity in China

Lisong Wang*(), Yu Jia, Xianchun Zhang, Haining Qin   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Systematics and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2015-03-06 Accepted:2015-03-14 Online:2015-03-20 Published:2015-04-09
  • Contact: Wang Lisong

Abstract:

According to an overview of higher plant diversity in China, China has 35,112 native species of higher plants belonging to 3,818 genera and 454 families. Among them, there are 3,045 bryophyte species in 602 genera and 151 families, 2,124 pteridophyte species in 176 genera and 38 families, 227 gymnosperm species in 37 genera and 8 families, and 29,716 angiosperm species in 3,003 genera and 257 families. Comparisons with recent estimates of global species diversity suggests that the species diversity of Chinese bryophytes, pteridophytes, gymnosperms and angiosperms account for 18.8%, 17.7%, 22.2% and 11.1%, respectively of the global totals. A total of 212 genera are endemic to China with 7 bryophytes, 2 pteridophytes, 7 gymnosperms, and 196 angiosperms. A total of 17,439 species are endemic to China including 524 bryophytes, 840 pteridophytes, 115 gymnosperms, and 15,960 angiosperms. The percentages of endemic species (POES) for each group in the country are 17.2%, 39.6%, 50.7%, and 53.7%, respectively. This translates to a POES of 49.7% for higher plants (including bryophytes, pteridophytes and seed plants), a POES of 52.8% for vascular plants (including pteridophytes and seed plants), and a POES of 53.7% for seeds plants (including gymnosperms and angiosperms). The top 10 families with highest species diversity are Asteraceae (227 genera/2,315 species), Poaceae (215/1,787), Fabaceae (141/1,631), Orchidaceae (205/1,556), Lamiaceae (103/975), Ranunculaceae (38/957), Rosaceae (53/954), Cyperaceae (32/871), Ericaceae (22/841), and Rubiaceae (94/696). The top 12 families with highest endemic genera are Gesneriaceae (26 genera), Asteraceae (18), Orchidaceae (14), Lamiaceae (11), Apiaceae (9), Brassicaceae (9), Apocynaceae (6), Poaceae (6), Melastomataceae (5), Boraginaceae (4), Rubiaceae (4), and Ranunculaceae (4). The top 10 genera with highest species diversity are Rhododendron (588 species), Carex (537), Astragalus (420), Pedicularis (363), Corydalis (357), Primula (310), Saussurea (293), Salix (279), Impatiens (274), and Gentiana (255). The top 10 genera with highest endemic species are: Rhododendron (433 species), Pedicularis (283), Carex (273), Corydalis (258), Astragalus (237), Impatiens (234), Primula (222), Berberis (209), Elatostema (207), and Saussurea (196). Diversity bearing with more than 5,000 species among the seven Chinese provinces is as follows: Yunnan (15,900 species), Sichuan (10,374), Tibet (7,629), Guangxi (7,399), Guizhou (6,405), Guangdong (5,498) and Taiwan (5,290). Among the 17 mega-diversity countries China is ranked the fourth when ordered by total species diversity and, seventh when ordered by POES.

Key words: higher plant, flora, descriptive taxonomy, checklist, China