The world’s greatest plant diversity

The world’s greatest plant diversity

Botanists have recorded 46,000 species and continue to identify an average of 250 per year in Brazil

CARLOS FIORAVANTI

 © CLAUDIO NICOLETTI FRAGA/JBRJ

Encholirium fragae bromeliads grow on a limestone outcropping in the municipality of São Desidério, Bahia

Encholirium fragae bromeliads grow on a limestone outcropping in the municipality of São Desidério, Bahia

Following a seven-year effort, a group of 575 botanists from Brazil and 14 other countries has completed the latest version of an extensive survey of the diversity of Brazilian plants, algae and fungi, currently tallied at 46,097 species. Nearly half of these, or 43%, are exclusive (endemic) to the national territory. That total qualifies Brazil as the country with the world’s richest plant diversity. The first version of the survey, published in 2010, listed 40,989 species. The number will only continue to grow at this rapid pace, as new species continue to be identified and described in scientific journals. Botanists introduce about 250 new species per year on average. Read more.