Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (7): 22397.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022397

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Recent advances in the national inventory of higher plant species in China

Bing Liu(), Haining Qin   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2022-07-13 Accepted:2022-07-16 Online:2022-07-20 Published:2022-07-22
  • Contact: Bing Liu


Aims: Making an inventory of the diversity of Chinese higher plants is an important component of the “Catalogue of Life China” project, which aims to annually update the national checklist of all species found within the country.
Methods: Using recent studies, we adopted the latest understanding of taxonomic classifications of all major plant groups based upon molecular evidence. We then calculated the total numbers of known and new (i.e., those added in the previous five years) taxa across multiple hierarchical classifications, from species up to family. We report the status of the national inventory of plant species as it stands after accounting for recent taxonomic revisions.
Results: Since the 2017 International Botanical Congress (IBC) in Shenzhen, the national checklist has been updated in five instances. The current checklist of Chinese higher plants includes: of the hornworts, four families, nine genera, and 27 species; 62 families, 170 genera, 1,081 species and 94 infraspecific taxa of liverworts; 94 families, 453 genera, 2,006 species and 154 infraspecific taxa of mosses; three families, 12 genera, 165 species and four infraspecific taxa of lycophytes; 38 families, 177 genera, 2,215 species and 228 infraspecific taxa of ferns; 10 families, 45 genera, 291 species and 118 infraspecific taxa of gymnosperms; and 272 families, 3,409 genera, 32,708 species, and 6,909 infraspecific taxa of angiosperms. Higher plants found within the country include a total of 483 families, 4,275 genera, 38,493 species and 7,507 infraspecific taxa. Of these, 19 families, 270 genera and 2,334 species have been added since the 2017 IBC.
Conclusion: The inventory includes the total number of known plant species found within China. Updating of the national checklist in the past five years reflects the most recent studies of plant taxonomy within the country, promotes the progress of a global effort to inventory biodiversity, and provides detailed baseline data for flora collections, biodiversity research, and conservation practices.

Key words: higher plants, checklist, biodiversity, inventory, China