J Syst Evol ›› 1985, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (4): 241-258.

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Quantitative Analysis of Genera Endemic to China

Wang He-Sheng   

  1. (Institute of Geography, Academia Sinica, Beijing)
  • Published:1985-08-18

Abstract: Chinese flora with many endemic elements is highly important in the world’s flora. According to recent statistics there are about 196 genera of spermatophytes, being 6.5% of total Chinese genera. These endemic genera comprising 377 species belong to 68 families, among which the Gesneriaceae (28 genera), Umbelliferae (13), Compositae (13), Orchidaceae (12) and Labiatae (10) are predominant. The tropical type containing 24 families and 80 genera is dominant. After it follows the temperate type with 23 families and 50 genera. There are also 4 families endemic to China, i.e. Ginkgoaceae, Bretschneideraceae, Eucommiaceae and Davidiaceae. It shows that genera endemic to China are obviously related to the tropical and temperate flora in essence. The endemic monotypic genera (139) and endemic obligotypic genera (48) combined make up more than 95% of the total number of genera endemic to China. Phylogenetically more than half of them are ancient or primitive. The life forms of all endemic genera are also diverse. Herbs, especially perennial herbs, prevail with the proportion of about 62%, and trees and shrubs are the next, with 33%, and the rest are lianas. Based upon the calculated number of genera endemic to China in each province and the similarity coefficents between any two provinces, some conclusions may be drawn as follows: Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces combined are the distribution centre of genera endemic to China and may be their original or differentiation area, because numerous endemic genera, including various groups, exist in these two provinces. The second is Guizhou where there are 62 endemic genera. Others form a declining order, south China, central China and east China. But towards the north China endemic genera decrease gradually, and the Qinling Range is an important distributional limit. The largest simitarity coefficient, over 50%, appears between Shaanxi and Gansu probably because of the Qinling Range linking these two provinces. But between any other two provinces it is less than 30% and it is generaly larger between two south provinces than between two north provinces. These characteristics mentioned above are correlated with topography and climate, and they may be resulted from the diversification in geography and climatic influence for a long time.

Key words: China, Endemic genera, Floristic statistics, Spectrum of life forms, Similarity coefficient of genera, Flora