1. This study on vascular plant species of boreal spruce and pine mires concentrated on two geometrical principles: whether single large or several small (SLOSS) reserves contain more species and whether patch shape should be as nearly circular as possible.
2. SLOSS and patch shape have usually been tested by using species richness. Only a few studies have taken the rarity of species into account, and taxonomic diversity has never been used. In our study, all three of these factors were used.
3. Our results showed that the number of species was not related to the spruce mire size, but it increased in relation to the pine mire size. In contrast, the rarity score increased in relation to the area of spruce mires, but it was not related to the area of pine mires. Taxonomic diversity was not related to size in the case of spruce mires, but it increased with pine mires.
4. The SLOSS comparison showed that several small mires contained more vascular plant species than a large one of equal size. Several small mires also had higher rarity scores and taxonomic diversity than a single large mire. The number of species, rarity score and taxonomic diversity increased in relation to the number of small mires in a group. The same results were obtained with both spruce and pine mires.
5. Species richness, rarity score and taxonomic diversity were not related to mire shape. The results did not depend on the mire type.