Diversity patterns of monocotiledonous geophytes in Mexico
Background: Geophytes, plants with underground perennating organs that lose their aerial organs annually, are able to survive in harsh habitats. This life form is common in the monocots that inhabit Mediterranean climates around the world. In Mexico only the northern area of Baja California has this type of climate.
Hypothesis: In this study, we recorded the species and distribution of Mexican geophyte monocots to pinpoint diversity hotspots. Our hypothesis is that the highest diversity of geophytes will be found in biogeographic areas with complex topography and seasonal climate such like Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt and Sierra Madre del Sur, not only in the north of the Baja California Peninsula.
Data description: Records of geophytes were taken from different sources, collections, taxonomic references and diversity databases. Geophyte locations were mapped in the context of biogeographic and protected areas.
Results: The Mexican geophyte flora is composed of 476 species, approximately 10% of the total diversity of monocots. Echeandia and Tigridia were the two most diverse genera. This flora is dominated by the taxa of Orchidaceae, Asparagaceae and Iridaceae, and nine small endemic genera were recorded. Geophyte diversity was highest in two biogeographic provinces: the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt and the Sierra Madre del Sur, in dry forests such as oak-pine, seasonally dry tropical forests and semi-arid shrubby vegetation.
Conclusions: Diversity of geophytes in Mexico is similar compared with certain regions with Mediterranean climate around the world. Areas sustaining a high diversity and endemism of geophytes are located in the Mesoamerican Biodiversity Hotspot, in unprotected and threatened areas.
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