Biodiversity records?

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Wed May 14 06:03:08 CDT 1997

At 12:48 PM 05-14-97 SAST-2, Ted Oliver wrote:

>If there were entries in the Guiness Book of Records for
>biodiversity in the plant kingdom what would the candidates be?
>My research is on the genus Erica which I reckon is a very good
>candidate from the following figures:-
>On a mountain slope near the coast SE of Cape Town I noted 5 species
>growing within 1 square metre (woody shrublets to 300 mm high) and :
>on the flats nearby 11 species in about 1000 sq m, 9 of them
>flowering and all very distinct species not closely related with
>pollination by either bees, birds or wind.
>The centre of biodiversity of the genus lies just to the north of
>the above area and so far we estimate that 200 spp occur in a
>mountain range of approx  30x10 km=300 sq km.
>The genus has presently 650 spp in the Cape Floral Region (approx 90
>000 sq km) with approx 95% endemism.
>Has anyone got comparable figures for other genera in other parts of
>the world?  Is this a possible record for vascular plants?

A. A. Sterk, et al. (Acta Bot. Neerl. 32: 385-415) reported up to 19 species
of Taraxacum (Asteraceae) per 125 m2 in coastal Netherlands, but given they
are largely agamospecies, maybe that doesn't count.

I always thought the 120+ spp. of Lobelioideae (Campanulaceae) endemic to
the 16,000 km2 area of the Hawaiian Islands was some kind of record.

Thomas G. Lammers

Classification, Nomenclature, Phylogeny and Biogeography
of the Campanulaceae, s. lat.

Department of Botany
Field Museum of Natural History
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:     lammers at
voice mail: 312-922-9410 ext. 317

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