Plants of southern Africa: an online checklist

Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist
ABSTRACT

GERMISHUIZEN, G. & MEYER, N.L. (eds) 2003. Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14.

Southern Africa has the richest temperate flora in the world and encompasses a rich floristic diversity of approximately 24 000 taxa (species and infraspecific taxa) of 368 families, including more than 10% of the world’s vascular plant flora on less than 2.5% of the earth’s land surface area. Accurate coverage of this remarkable flora has been made possible at the species level through PRECIS (National Herbarium, Pretoria (PRE) Computerised Information System), maintained by the National Botanical Institute. PRECIS includes all indigenous and naturalised plants recorded from the same area as the Flora of southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho). This book is largely based on PRECIS and includes data on life cycle, life form, height of plant and altitude together with updated information on literature references, synonyms and regional distribution. Families are grouped into seven more or less natural assemblages: Bryophyta, Hepatophyta, Anthocerotophyta, Pteridophyta, Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons and Monocotyledons.


Background

Southern Africa has the richest temperate flora in the world and encompasses a rich floristic diversity of approximately 24 000 taxa (species and infraspecific taxa) of 368 families, including more than 10% of the world’s vascular plant flora on less than 2.5% of the earth’s land surface area. Accurate coverage of this remarkable flora has been made possible at the species level through PRECIS (National Herbarium, Pretoria (PRE) Computerised Information System), maintained by the National Botanical Institute. PRECIS includes all indigenous and naturalised plants recorded from the same area as the Flora of southern Africa (FSA): the subcontinent south of the Kunene, Okavango, Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers.

The first list of southern African plants published from PRECIS was the List of species of southern African plants (Gibbs Russell et al. 1984), which comprised a basic list of names in current use. It was followed by a second edition which appeared in two parts and included synonyms and references to recent literature. Part 1 (Gibbs Russell et al. 1985) covered the bryophytes, pteridophytes, gymnosperms and monocotyledons. Part 2 (Gibbs Russell et al. 1987) covered the dicotyledons. Updates were listed in Bothalia from 1988 to 1991. The third edition in the series, Plants of southern Africa: names and distribution edited by T.H. Arnold & B.C. de Wet, appeared in 1993, with regional distribution data as an additional feature.

The current publication, the fourth edition in the series, has been expanded to include data on life cycle, life form, height of plant and altitude together with the updated information on literature references, synonyms and regional distribution. These data are based largely on the herbarium collections of the National Botanical Institute and are therefore inevitably incomplete. They nevertheless provide a useful checklist of the plants of southern Africa.

Changes over ten years

The southern African flora is extremely diverse and many groups are not well known or well documented, with the most recent revisions often going back 50 years or more. When any of these groups are revised, numerous and often radical changes sometimes have to be made, resulting in a relatively high annual incidence of changes in names and concepts. We have compared the numbers of families, genera, species and taxa given ten years ago in Arnold & De Wet (1993) to the numbers reflected in the current work (see Table). Certain names no longer appear in the current list because they are no longer considered relevant to the southern African flora.

TABLE - Numbers of families, genera, species and taxa (species plus infraspecific taxa) in Arnold & De Wet (1993) and in the current work (2003)


    Families   Genera   Species   Taxa
    1993   2003   1993   2003   1993   2003   1993   2003
Bryophyta }   } 59     } 217     } 546     } 555
Hepatophyta } 94 } 38   292 } 90   814 } 309   817 } 313
Anthocerotophyta }   } 1     } 2     } 7     } 7
Pteridophyta   28   34   76   88   260   278   282   294
Gymnosperms   7   7   7   10   50   61   52   61
Dicotyledons   177   172   1 710   1 733   16 175   15 653   18 029   17 353
Monocotyledons   47   59   518   499   4 912   4 963   5 323   5 452
Total FSA   353   369   2604   2639   22 211   21 817   24 503   24 035

Arrangement and circumscription of families, genera, species and infraspecific taxa

Family, genus and species names and synonyms are given in alphabetical sequence. Current names are in bold. Synonyms are printed in italics.

Families are primarily grouped into seven more or less natural assemblages: Bryophyta (pp. 1–37); Hepatophyta (pp. 39–61); Anthocerotophyta (pp. 63, 64); Pteridophyta (pp. 65–86); Gymnosperms (pp. 87–90); Dicotyledons (pp. 91–951); and Monocotyledons (pp. 953–1216). The classification of the gymnosperms, dicotyledons and monocotyledons mainly follows Leistner (2000).

A genus name is abbreviated to its initial letter only in that part of the list dealing with that particular genus. Genus names that are used only as synonyms in the FSA region are given in italics even if they are considered to be current names outside our area. The seven-digit numbers that follow main genus entries in this work are those used in the PRECIS database of the National Botanical Institute. They do not necessarily reflect phylogenetic relationships between taxa, but are retained as a useful tool for herbarium workers.

A synonym of a species or subspecific name appears twice: in the complete alphabetical listing of names under the genus, and again indented and in smaller type below the accepted name of which it is considered to be a synonym. In the latter case it is followed by one or more literature reference numbers in brackets.

Naturalised taxa are marked with an asterisk before the name.

Author citations

Author citations are according to Brummitt & Powell (1992).

Literature

Most literature entries given in Arnold & De Wet (1993) have been retained. New and other relevant literature have been added. Most titles are given in full. Entries are chronologically arranged.

Floras are cited by the following abbreviations:

CFA Conspectus florae angolensis     FTA Flora of tropical Africa
FC Flora capensis   FTEA Flora of tropical East Africa
FSA Flora of southern Africa   FWTA Flora of West tropical Africa
FSWA Prodromus einer Flora von Südwestafrika   FZ Flora zambesiaca

Examples of species information

Life cycle: Annual, biennial or perennial.
Life form: Bryophyte, climber, dwarf shrub, epiphyte, geophyte, graminoid, herb, hydrophyte, lithophyte, parasite, scrambler, shrub, succulent, suffrutex or tree.
Height of plant: Ht x–xx mm/m, up to xx mm/m or ± xx mm/m.
Altitude where plants occur, if known: Alt xx–xxxx m, up to xxxx m or ± xxxx m.
Distribution: Countries and RSA provinces abbreviated and given in the following order (see Map): N, B, LIM, NW, G, M, S, FS, KZN, L, NC, WC, EC. Where current distribution records are unknown because of old herbarium collections with incomplete information, abbreviations of old province are given, for example Cape Province (‘CP’) and Transvaal (‘TV’ or ‘Tvl’), or South Africa (‘SA’) and Republic of South Africa (‘RSA’).

Index

The Index guides the reader to the main entries of genera and families.

Authorship

Most compilers of this work are staff of one of the three herbaria of the National Botanical Institute, namely the Compton Herbarium, National Herbarium and Natal Herbarium. The following persons from outside the Institute contributed:
Dr Peter Bruyns of the Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town;
Mr Ingo Breuer, Germany;
Prof. Christopher Cook formerly of the Botanical Garden and Institute for Systematic Botany, University of Zürich;
Mr Tony Dold, of the Selmar Schonland Herbarium, Rhodes University;
Dr Neil J. Griffin of the International Ocean Institute of Southern Africa, University of the Western Cape;
Dr Leanne Dreyer of the Botany Department, University of Stellenbosch;
Dr Peter Goldblatt of the Missouri Botanical Garden, St Louis;
Dr Cornelia Klak of the Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town;
Eric B. Knox of the Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA;
Ms Anna Moteetee of the Botany Department, Rand Afrikaans University;
Dr Ashley Nicholas of the Botany Department, University of Durban-Westville;
Dr Peter Phillipson, Paris;
Mr Marcus Quint, Germany;
Dr Pat Tilney of the Botany Department, Rand Afrikaans University;
Prof. Ben-Erik van Wyk of the Botany Department, Rand Afrikaans University;
Prof. Johan Venter of the Department of Botany and Genetics, University of the Free State;
and Dr Graham Williamson, Bergvliet, Cape Town.

Editors’ acknowledgements

We sincerely thank the Executive of the National Botanical Institute, specifically Prof. Brian Huntley and Prof. Gideon Smith, for the opportunity to edit this work. We thank Hannelie Snyman and Carole de Wet of IT Management, Pretoria, for help with downloading the PRECIS information and for easy access to and upkeep of PRECIS. The Publications Section of the NBI played a crucial role in the production of the work and saw it through the press: Emsie du Plessis is thanked for preparing all the text for typesetting; she also saw to it that compilers received their contributions for proofreading and carefully transferred their corrections onto copies for the typesetter; she painstakingly compiled the index. Sarie Brink typeset the entire book. Sandra Turck designed the striking cover; we had only one request—it had to be a ‘Black Book’, in the tradition of its predecessor! Louisa Liebenberg gave us support throughout and handled the budget for production of the book. We are indebted to Dr Otto Leistner for his initial input as editor during the early stages of the project and for his invaluable advice to our team. Marinda Koekemoer, Curator of the National Herbarium, is thanked for co-ordinating initial information and progress sessions for compilers at the Herbarium. Support given by the staff of the Mary Gunn and Harry Molteno Libraries is much appreciated. We thank all collaborators, especially those from outside the Institute listed above. We are also most grateful to various other non-NBI colleagues who supplied information or assisted our compilers in some way. A special word of thanks to Herbarium assistants and other Herbarium staff who helped in various ways to collate much of the information. Lyn Fish and Jacques van Rooy are thanked for acting as couriers between one of us (N.L.M.) and the National Herbarium.

G. Germishuizen & N.L. Meyer
Pretoria, September 2003

Definitions of life forms
To assist the reader, we include the following definitions of a selection of some lesser known life form terms (mostly R. Glen, pers. comm.):
Carnivore: a plant that can utilise proteins and minerals obtained from trapped animals, mostly insects.
Cyperoid: a term used for members of the Cyperaceae family.
Epihydate: a plant with leaves and/or stems floating on the surface of the water but not rising above the water, roots penetrating the substrate.
Epiphyte: a plant that grows on another plant but without deriving nourishment from it and not parasitic, as some ferns and orchids growing on trees.
Geophyte: a perennial plant, usually herbaceous, with renewal buds located on the plant below the soil surface, as on bulbs or rhizomes.
Graminoid: a term used for members of the grass family, Poaceae.
Haptophyte: a plant that is attached to but not penetrating a solid substrate.
Helophyte: a plant typical of marshy or lake-edge environments, in which the perennating organ lies in soil or mud below the water level, but the aerial shoots protrude above the water.
Hydrophyte: a plant that is morphologically and/or physiologically adapted to grow in water or very wet environments.
Hyperhydate: an emergent plant, with leaves and/or stems emerging well beyond the water surface, roots penetrating the substrate.
Lignotuber: a woody swelling below or just above the ground, containing adventitious buds from which new shoots develop if the top is cut or burnt.
Lithophyte: a plant that grows on rocks.
Mallee: any of several low, shrubby eucalyptus trees that flourish in desert regions of Australia.
Parasite: a plant living on another plant and deriving nourishment from it.
Plankton: plants that are completely submerged, not attached to any substrate.
Pleustophyte: a plant that is free-floating on the water surface, not attached to or penetrating the substrate, with some photosynthetic parts in contact with air.
Restioid: a term used for members of the Restionaceae family.
Rheophyte: a flood-resistant plant that is confined to the beds of swift-flowing streams or rivers and to adjacent floodplains.
Rosulate: with leaves borne in a rosette.
Sudd hydrophyte: an aquatic plant that grows rooted in sudd (an impenetrable mass of floating vegetable matter).
Tenagophyte: an amphibious plant, the juvenile submerged or floating on water and the adult (reproductive) phase terrestrial.
Vittate: pertaining to submerged plants, rooted in substrate, leaves arranged along elongated stem.

References

ARNOLD, T.H. & DE WET, B.C. 1993. Plants of southern Africa: names and distribution. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa No. 62. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
BRUMMITT, R.K. & POWELL, C.E. 1992. Authors of plant names. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
LEISTNER, O.A. (ed.) 2000. Seed plants of southern Africa: families and genera. Strelitzia 10. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
GIBBS RUSSELL, G.E., REID, C., VAN ROOY, J. & SMOOK, L. 1985. List of species of southern African plants, edn 2, Part 1. Cryptogams, Gymnosperms, Monocotyledons. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa No. 51. Botanical Research Institute, Pretoria.
GIBBS RUSSELL, G.E. & STAFF OF THE NATIONAL HERBARIUM. 1984. List of species of southern African plants. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa No. 48. Botanical Research Institute, Pretoria.
GIBBS RUSSELL, G.E., WELMAN, W.G., RETIEF, E., IMMELMAN, K.L., GERMISHUIZEN, G., PIENAAR, B.J., VAN WYK, M. &
NICHOLAS, A. 1987. List of species of southern African plants, edn 2, Part 2. Dicotyledons. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa No. 56. Botanical Research Institute, Pretoria.

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