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Type: Editorial
Published: 2016-05-20
Page range: 201–217
Abstract views: 1077
PDF downloaded: 620

The number of known plants species in the world and its annual increase

Plant Gateway, Hertford, SG13 7BX, United Kingdom. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond TW9 3DS, United Kingdom.
Plant Gateway, Hertford, SG13 7BX, United Kingdom. Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Botany, P.O. Box 9517, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Total number of vascular plants species new taxa annual increase contribution of new species by Phytotaxa General


We have counted the currently known, described and accepted number of plant species as ca 374,000, of which approximately 308,312 are vascular plants, with 295,383 flowering plants (angiosperms; monocots: 74,273; eudicots: 210,008). Global numbers of smaller plant groups are as follows: algae ca 44,000, liverworts ca 9,000, hornworts ca 225, mosses 12,700, lycopods 1,290, ferns 10,560 and gymnosperms 1,079. Phytotaxa is currently contributing more than a quarter of the ca 2000 species that are described every year, showing that it has become a major contributor to the dissemination of new species discovery. However, the rate of discovery is slowing down, due to reduction in financial and scientific support for fundamental natural history studies.