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The distribution of the dwarf succulent genus Conophytum N.E.Br. (Aizoaceae) in southern Africa.

Young, AJ and Desmet, PG (2016) The distribution of the dwarf succulent genus Conophytum N.E.Br. (Aizoaceae) in southern Africa. BOTHALIA, 46 (1). ISSN 0006-8241

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Abstract

Background: The dwarf succulent genus Conophytum N.E.Br. is one of the most speciose in the Aizoceae. The genus is most closely associated with a region of high floral endemism and biodiversity, namely the Succulent Karoo biome in Southwestern Africa.

Objectives: To examine the distribution of Conophytum in Southwestern Namibia and in the Northern and Western Capes of South Africa.

Method: A database consisting of 2,798 locality records representing all known species and subspecies of the genus Conophytum has been constructed.

Results: The genus is primarily restricted to the arid winter rainfall region of the Northern and Western Cape of South Africa and southwestern Namibia within the Greater Cape Floristic Region. Whilst taxa are found across all the main biomes in the region (the Succulent Karoo, Nama Karoo, Desert and Fynbos biomes), 94% of Conophytum taxa are found only in the Succulent Karoo biome, and predominantly (88% of taxa) within South Africa. Endemism within specific bioregions is a feature of the genus and ~60% of taxa are endemic to the Succulent Karoo alone. Approximately 28% of all taxa could be considered point endemics. Whilst the genus has a relatively wide geographical range a pronounced centre for endemism has been identified in the southern Richtersveld.

Conclusion: That the genus Conophytum can be used as a good floral model for studying patterns of diversity and speciation in the Succulent Karoo biome; the effects of climate change on dwarf succulents; as well as informing conservation planning efforts.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0607 Plant Biology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QK Botany
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: AOSIS
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2016 12:51
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2016 08:35
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2883

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