Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (2): 147-155.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016192

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A review on the floristic phytogeography in arid northwestern China and Central Asia

Mingli Zhang1,2,*()   

  1. 1 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    2 Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011
  • Received:2016-12-19 Accepted:2017-02-17 Online:2017-02-20 Published:2017-03-06
  • Contact: Zhang Mingli


A floristic phytogeography of arid regions of northwestern China is outlined in this paper. Most researches of floristic cataloging and phytogeography of families and genera were started since 1980. We propose that Central Asia, as a natural region, should be regarded as a distinct unit to study, namely combining northwestern China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan as one unit. Local research is not sufficient or holistic for study of plant floristics and evolutionary history. We address the significance and potential of molecular phylogeny and biogeography of families and genera. Linking geological and palaeoclimate events, especially the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau uplift and the Tethys retreat in the historical floristic phytogeography and vegetation, is suggested as they are the main dynamics of Central Asian aridification.

Key words: arid northwestern China, Central Asia, floristics, molecular phylogeny