The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "Twenty years of Big plant genera"

Posted on 2024-05-15 - 03:37
In 2004, David Frodin published a landmark review of the history and concepts of big plant genera. Two decades of taxonomic activity have taken place since, coinciding with a revolution in phylogenetics and taxonomic bioinformatics. Here we use data from the World Flora Online (WFO) to provide an updated list of big (greater than 500 species) and megadiverse (>1000 species) flowering plant genera and highlight changes since 2004. The number of big genera has increased from 57 to 86; today one of every four plant species is classified as a member of a big genus, with 14% in just 28 megadiverse genera. Most (71%) of the growth in big genera since 2000 is the result of new species description, not generic re-circumscription. More than 15% of all currently accepted flowering plant species described in the last two decades are in big genera, suggesting that groups previously considered intractable are now being actively studied taxonomically. Despite this rapid growth in big genera, they remain a significant yet understudied proportion of plant diversity. They represent a significant proportion of global plant diversity and should remain a priority not only for taxonomy but for understanding global diversity patterns and plant evolution in general.


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