Plant diversity and endemism in China: Unreachable locations and diverse microclimates

A new issue of the scholarly, open-access and peer-reviewed journal PhytoKeys focuses on the Chinese biodiversity hotspots and their substantial role in understanding the country's unique flora. The special issue embarks on a treasure hunt into China's biodiversity hotspots, including the descriptions of 23 species previously unknown to science and new insights into the ecological diversity of ferns based on their DNA sequences.

In China, biodiversity-rich landscapes vary from the dry Northwest region, through the massive mountain ranges of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, to tropical and subtropical southern China. The combination of remote and hard to reach mountain areas and diverse microclimates promises high levels of endemism.

"With extended collaboration among Chinese scientists and coordination of networks on plant conservation and taxonomy across China, we synthesize a special issue entitled "Revealing the plant diversity in China's biodiversity hotspots," to present the latest findings by Chinese botanists, and to update knowledge of the flora for China and adjacent countries," explained De-Zhu Li, professor of botany at Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in the editorial.

Among the newly described species, four new members of the African violet family were found from a subtropical forest in Yunnan province in southern China, discovered by researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, CAS and their collaborators. Half of them were found only from a sole population and require further botanical examinations to deploy the conservation priorities, remark the scientists.

Read more at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Chen Na)


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