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Abstract Detail

Systematics/Phytogeography / Taxonomie/ Section

Fritsch, Peter W. [1], Zhou, Lihua [1], Lu, Lu [2], Bartholomew, Bruce [1].

A taxonomic revision of Gaultheria (Ericaceae) in the Gaoligong Shan, a biodiversity hotspot at the border of China and Burma.

The Gaoligong Shan (GLGS) is a 600 km-long mountain range that over much of its length straddles the border between Burma (Myanmar) and the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Xizang (Tibet). This range contains over 4300 species of seed plants documented from the Chinese side of the region alone. As part of a long-term, large-scale survey and inventory of this critical biodiversity hotspot (nine expeditions over seven years), we have begun to examine the taxonomy of vascular plant groups for this region. One of these is Gaultheria (wintergreen). In attempting to use the treatment of Gaultheria for the Flora of China (FOC) to identify specimens collected from our expeditions, we realized that further taxonomic work on the GLGS component of Gaultheria was needed. Over 1200 collections were studied for the revision, 835 of which were ultimately determined to originate from the GLGS. Roughly one-third of the GLGS collections were from our expedition teams; the rest were primarily those of G. Forrest, H. Li, F. Kingdon Ward, J.F. Rock, H.T. Tsai, and T.T. YĆ¼. We recognize 24 species of Gaultheria from the GLGS, including one new species from Myanmar. Our treatment differs significantly from the FOC treatment. We have added one species to the flora and elevated two varieties to the species level, recircumscribed taxa based on new character observations, and unified taxa that were recognized in FOC as distinct (apparently) because of sparse sampling along a cline, artificial delimitation across political boundaries, and/or misinterpretation of character polymorphism across morphological and geographical space. We also made various nomenclatural corrections. Our treatment highlights the utility of conducting intensive regional surveys to help solve taxonomic problems of wider geographic scope. It also suggests that, despite the enormous progress made recently on documenting the Chinese flora, much basic taxonomic work remains.

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1 - California Academy of Sciences, Department of Botany, 55 Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, 94118-4599, USA
2 - Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Heilongtan Kunming, Yunnan 650204, P. R. China

Gaoligong Shan
south-central Asia

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 16
Location: Room 3/Woodward
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 4:45 PM
Number: 16014
Abstract ID:469

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