Floristic characteristics and diversity patterns of seed plants endemic to the Tibetan Plateau

YU Haibin 1,2 ZHANG Yili1,3 LIU Linshan1 CHEN Zhao4 QI Wei1

(1.Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101)
(2.School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275)
(3.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049)
(4.Guangdong Institute of Eco-environmental Science & Technology, Guangzhou 510650)

【Abstract】The Tibetan Plateau (TP) harbors numerous seed plants, however, the floristic characteristics and diversity patterns of plants endemic to this region have been rarely studied. Based on several monographs and online databases, we compiled a list of seed plants that exclusively occurred on the TP as well as their distribution at the county level. We further explored their characteristics, floristic composition and spatial distribution patterns. We identified 3,764 endemic seed plants belonging to 519 genera and 113 families, 76.3% of which were herbaceous plants. Among them, 15 families (e.g., Asteraceae, Ranunculaceae, Orobanchaceae) and 7 genera (e.g., Pedicularis, Rhododendron, Corydalis) contained over 100 endemic species. Floristic composition analysis indicated that 67.5% of these endemic plants were temperate species. The species diversity declined gradually from the southeast to the northwest with hotspots located within the East Himalaya–Hengduan Mountains. Vertically, most species occurred at intermediate elevations. Understanding floristic characteristics and diversity patterns of Tibetan endemic flora shed light on future studies on the evolutional history and conservation practices in this area.

【Keywords】 diversity patterns; flora; endemism; alpine plant; Tibetan Plateau;


【Funds】 National Natural Science Foundation of China (41271068, 41371120) Open Fund of Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences (GJ-2017-03) China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2016M592568)

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This Article



Vol 26, No. 02, Pages 130-137

February 2018


Article Outline


  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results
  • 3 Discussion
  • Supplementary Material
  • References