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Species Discovery in Time:An Example from Gesneriaceae in China*



Species Discovery in Time:An Example from Gesneriaceae in China*


Michael Möller (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh,Edinburgh,EH3 5LR,Scotland,UK)




 Abstract

 

        China has seen an increasing number of new species being described in recent years. The present study likes to put these efforts into a historical perspective and investigates trends in species discovery rates over time with the Gesneriaceae as an example. At this point in time,44 Gesneriaceae genera exist in China,Deinostigma being the latest added. At least 647 Gesneriaceae species in China have been reported by the end of 2018. The rate of species discovery in the past was relatively steady with three species described per year,however,there was a distinct peak in the 1980s,when an average of 17-18 new species were described and reported each year, predominantly due to the work of Wang Wen-Tsai. Another,more recent increase in species discovery occurred over the last 10 years and is seemingly still ongoing with an average of 17 species per year,though this was an effort of more than 60 different authors. This study demonstrates that the present time witnesses a greatly accelerated rate of species discovery in China that might reflect an increased awareness by botanists of the great plant diversity that exists in this country.