Biodiv Sci ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (3): 364-374.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.11222

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Vascular plant diversity of the Paracel Islands, China

Yi Tong1,2, Shuguang Jian1, Quan Chen1,2, Yuling Li1,2, Fuwu Xing1,*()   

  1. 1 South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
    2 Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2012-11-22 Accepted:2013-04-19 Online:2013-05-20 Published:2013-06-05
  • Contact: Xing Fuwu


The Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands) comprise a group of tropical islands that are located south of mainland China and have a particular natural flora. Based on a literature search and our own investigations, we present here a checklist of plants for 24 of the Paracel Islands. We also report an analysis of plant diversity, its distribution and relationship with that of neighboring regions. A total of 396 vascular plants were recorded which belonged to 262 genera and 85 families. Of these, 220 were wild species and 176 were cultivated. As a whole, the islands do not possess a rich flora; however, there are major differences in plant diversity among islands. The flora consists in large part of tropical elements, typical of tropical coral islands of China. The flora is most closely connected to that of Hainan Island, and closely related to those of Taiwan of China, Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Key words: Paracel Islands, plant diversity, flora, plant list, tropical island, coral island