Almeda, Frank , Alvear, Marcela , Penneys, Darin S. , Michelangeli, Fabian A. .
Colombia, a major center of diversity for neotropical Melastomataceae.
The Melastomataceae (including Memecylaceae), with nearly 5000 species, is one of the ten largest families of flowering plants. Members of the family may be herbs, shrubs, trees, vines, epiphytes, or hemiepiphytes and are distributed throughout tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. The family comprises approximately 3000 species in the neotropics, 1000 in tropical Asia, 240 in Africa, and 225 in Madagascar in 150–166 genera. The Colombian territory (1,141,748 sq.km) with less than 1% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface is one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries. Colombia has been recognized by various international conservation organizations as having extraordinarily high plant and animal biodiversity. Within the neotropics, Colombia stands out as an extraordinary center of diversity for Melastomataceae with 64 genera and 910 species. Three genera (Allomaieta, Catocoryne, Kirkbridea) and 320 (35%) species are endemic. Six genera are near-endemics with a few taxa occurring in Andean Ecuador and Venezuela (Bucquetia, Castratella, Centradeniastrum, Diplarpea, Huilaea, Killipia). Miconia is the largest melastome genus in Colombia with 330 species and 114 endemics. We compare our species tallies in the Catalogue of the Plants of Colombia with published data from Mesoamerica, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, the Guianas, Peru, and Venezuela. There are almost twice as many melastome species in Colombia than in all of Mesoamerica, and three times more than all of the Guianas. Colombia has about 40% more melastome species than Ecuador which has 553 species, and 28% more than Venezuela which has 653 species. Brazil with about 1500 melastome species has 40% more taxa than Colombia, but it is also more than seven times larger. For its size, Colombia is one of the richest countries for Melastomataceae. We are aware of dozens more as yet undescribed species in Colombia. Further basic taxonomic work remains to be conducted upon many genera of Melastomataceae.
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1 - California Academy of Sciences, Department of Botany, 55 Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, 94118, USA
2 - The New York Botanical Garden, Institute of Systematic Botany, 200th St. & Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458-5126, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for BSA Sections
Location: Event Tent/Cliff Lodge
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM