J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2008, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (7): 771-777.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00711.x

• Molecular Ecology and Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Floristics and Plant Biogeography in China

De-Zhu Li   

  • Received:2008-04-11 Accepted:2008-04-23 Published:2008-07-10

Abstract: In 1998, a revolutionary system of angiosperm classification, the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system was published. Meanwhile, another new system of classification of angiosperms, the eight-class system was proposed by C. Y. Wu and colleagues based on long term work on the flora of China. The Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae project was initiated in 1959 and completed by 2004. It is the largest Flora so far completed in the world, including 31 228 species of vascular plants, or one-eighth of the global plant diversity. The English-language and updated Flora of China (FOC) is an international joint effort initiated in 1988 and accelerated in 1998. Up to now, 15 of the 24 volumes of the FOC have been published. Based on the floristic data, the composition, characteristics, floristic divisions and affinities of the flora of China have been studied by Wu and colleagues since 1965. In the past 10 years, analyses of the available floristic data have been very productive. The East Asiatic Floristic Kingdom was proposed in 1998. All 346 families of angiosperms in China, according to the eight-class system of classification, were comprehensively discussed by using knowledge of current and historical distribution of seed plants in the world, together with some morphological and molecular data. A scheme of distribution patterns or areal-types of families and genera of seed plants in China was modified and elucidated, together with a proposed scheme of areal-types of the world. Molecular phylogenetic and biogeographical studies of angiosperms in China in the past 10 years also witnessed a progressive development. Integration of morphological and molecular data and fossil evidence revealed some significant results. Eastern Asia, which used to be regarded as an important center of survival during the ice age, is likely an important center of diversification of angiosperms.

Key words: biogeography, center of diversification, eastern Asia, floristics, phylogenetics

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