Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (8): 22116.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022116

• Special Feature: 2021 New Taxa Collection • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Global new taxa of vascular plants published in 2021

Xia Wan1,2,3, Li-Bing Zhang1,4,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Mountain Ecological Restoration and Bioresource Utilization, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
    2. College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA
  • Received:2022-03-18 Accepted:2022-06-20 Online:2022-08-20 Published:2022-08-31
  • Contact: Li-Bing Zhang


Aims: Vascular plants provide most of the planet’s biomass. Thousands of new vascular plant species have been discovered and described every year recently. Timely analysis of the published data of new vascular plants taxa can show the research hotspots of vascular plant taxonomy in details and provide reference data for studies of related fields such as botany, ecology, and conservation science.

Methods: The data were derived from the IPNI (, Tropicos (, WCSP ( and The Plant List ( Statistics of new taxa of vascular plants published in 2021 were available as of April 16, 2022 excluding new combinations, new statuses or new names and bryophyte data.

Results: In 2021, at least 2,219 new taxa of vascular plants were described worldwide, including 1 new subfamily, 7 new tribes, 7 new subtribes, 68 new genera, 7 new subgenera, 15 new sections, 8 new subsections, 10 new series, 1,979 new species, 46 new subspecies, 59 new varieties, and 12 new forms. These new taxa belong to 185 families and 881 genera, among which Orchidaceae, Asteraceae and Rubiaceae had received more attentions. In 2021, 2,219 new taxa of vascular plants were described worldwide in 165 journals and 14 books by 1,942 scholars, of which 42 authors have published more than 11 new taxa. Phytotaxa and PhytoKeys were the top two journals in terms of the numbers of new taxa of vascular plants published in 2021 and published 586 and 112, respectively. Among the 2,096 new species and infraspecific taxa, 1,940 belonged to angiosperms, 147 to pteridophytes, and only 9 to gymnosperms, among which Orchidaceae are the most, with 227. The 2,096 new species and infraspecific taxa were from 115 countries and regions in the world. Asia and South America were the hotspots of discoveries of new species and infraspecific taxa, with 837 and 571, respectively. By country, China, Brazil, and Madagascar were the top three with the most new species and infraspecific taxa discovered in 2021, with 283, 269, and 169, respectively. Considering the fact that IPNI added 797 new species described in 2020 after February 1, 2021, we estimate ca. 700 new species described in 2021 will be added in various databases after April 16, 2022. This will increase the number of new species (and infraspecific taxa) published in 2021 to ca. 2,800, which is comparable to the annual numbers since 2001.

Key words: biodiversity, locality of new species, name author, new taxa, vascular plants