The Botanical Review

, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 5–36 | Cite as

Floristic Richness and Affinities in the West Indies

  • Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez
  • Mark T. Strong


Comparison of the common floristic elements between the West Indies and the surrounding continents shows a mosaic of affinities that are stronger to Central America and South America as a whole than with either one of them separately or with North America. However, since only 28% of the total West Indian seed plant flora is shared with other geographic regions of the world, the referred exercise is of limited value. Numerous tables are provided to show the distribution of genera throughout the archipelago. The application of phylogenetic studies into the service of biogeography is herein regarded as the next necessary step in elucidating the origins and affinities of the West Indian flora.


West Indies Seed Plant Flora Phylogenetic Studies 


El estudio comparativo de los elementos florísticos que existen en común entre las Indias Occidentales y los continentes circundantes muestran un mosaico de afinidades más cercanas a Centro América y Sur América en su totalidad, que con cualquiera de ellos por separado o con Norte América. Sin embargo, este estudio es de valor limitado ya que solo el 28% del total de la flora de plantas con semillas en las Indias Occidentales es compartido con otras regiones del mundo. En este estudio, se muestran numerosas tablas resumiendo los valores de endemismos, la distribución de los géneros dentro y fuera del archipiélago, así como los géneros más especiosos. La utilización de estudios filogenéticos al servicio de la biogeografía en las Indias Occidentales es considerado como el próximo paso esencial para la elucidación del origen y de las afinidades de la flora Antillana.



This paper is based on the data compiled for the project Checklist of the Seed plants of the West Indies. Numerous people at the National Museum of Natural History have contributed in one way or another to the completion of this project since its inception several years ago. Marilyn Hansel began the first database entering several thousand records for names extracted from major Caribbean floristic treatments. Chris Tuccinardi helped on numerous occasions with the merging and migration of database files, as well as in the creation of various queries to proofread the data or to obtain importance values of taxa. Likewise Ellen Farr helped with database structure and the development of efficient models on which to collect floristic and bibliographical data. Fiona Wilkinson added numerous recent taxonomic records to the database. Jamie Whitacre created various database forms that allowed us to proofread the database tables. Dr. Dan Nicolson answered numerous questions regarding nomenclature and Araceae literature.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashington, DCUSA

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