Biodiversity records?

Ted Oliver olivert at NBICT.NBI.AC.ZA
Wed May 14 12:48:22 CDT 1997


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?

E.G.H. `Ted' OLIVER  (Mr)
Compton Herbarium
National Botanical Institute,  Kirstenbosch
P Bag X7,  Claremont,  7735 SOUTH AFRICA
Tel: +27 21 7621166    Fax: +27 21 761 4151
olivert at

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