Monday, May 5, 2014

Flora of Yosemite National Park - 2014

The known vascular flora of Yosemite National Park numbers approximately 1,800 species.

That is, exactly 1,790 species or infrataxa of vascular plants, based on the 4 April 2014 updated Consortium of California Herbaria specimen database.  Various unofficial and official NPS publications place the tally of the Yosemite flora at 1375 (1) 1400 (2), 1452(3), 1500 (4), to 1545 species (5).  Other guesstimates are of similar magnitude (6).   In my now somewhat outdated flora for the region (7), 1680 taxon records were reported for Yosemite in 2010, based on 20,445 specimen records.

Presently, I have records for 33,289 herbarium specimens from within the present day boundary of Yosemite National Park. 

The increase in the documented park flora originates from both new database records and from additional collections made in 2010 and afterwards. 

The range of estimates cited above cover 76% to 85% of the known flora – the magnitude of these underestimates bear no correspondence to date: i.e. the most recent formally NPS estimate published in 2011 is at 85%.  Old underestimates of the Yosemite flora are not surprising: by way of example, the Wikipedia article on Yosemite (accessed 5 May 2014) records 130 non-native plants in the Park.  There are specimen records for 226 species: an underestimate by nearly a factor of 2.

The current checklist as posted as a public document to Google Docs as:
Checklist of Vascular Plants Yosemite National Park.xlsx

2.  Natural Resource Statistics (, accessed 5 May 2014.
3.  Vegetation Species List (, accessed 5 May 2014.
5.  Moore, P. and B.E. Johnson.  2011.  Vascular Plant Iventory for Yosemite National Park.  Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/SEIN/NRTR-2011/427
6. ‘Yosemite Wildflowers’ 2014.  Barry and Judy Breckling.  High County Apps.

7.  Taylor, D.W.  2010.  Flora of the Yosemite Sierra.