Thursday, July 18, 2013

New California region vascular plants 2009-2013

Over the past 5 years (1 Jan 2009 to today), 41 new taxa of vascular plants have been described from the California region [defined as the California Floristic Province (CFP), and the state of California].    This equates to an average rate of 8 new taxa per yr, which is about the rate of new discoveries over the past 50 or so years.   For the most part, these plants are narrow endemics and are restricted only to the CFP.   Of the 41 new plants, only 12 were treated in the revised Jepson Manual published in 2012.

The figure shows the number of CFP endemics described over the last 100 years (red line) and a 10-yr moving average (white line) of the proportion of these that are on the California Native Plant Society Inventory.    In recent times, there have been years in which few new endemics are described, yes, then every few years, a peak appears in which >10 make their debut.    

The salient point is this: almost all newly discovered vascular plants endemic to California are of conservation concern.   This finding indicates the need to continue to support floristic research, to collect herbarium specimens, and to continue to support taxonomic review of the California flora.  The richness of the California flora is not yet fully documented - the rarest of the rare have not yet been either discovered or described.  

Message: Find em' or loose em'