The diversity of the Iberian vascular flora has been investigated using WORLDMAP versions 3.08 and 3.18. Two data sets scoring plant distributions as presences within the Iberian Peninsula were compiled; one for 2133 species at 50 × 50 km grid and the other for 801 species at 10 × 10 km map grids. Patterns of biodiversity were determined using the diversity measures of species richness, range-size rarity and character richness diversity. Using the diversity measures, combined with an area selection method, maps of priority areas were calculated using iterative procedures. Near minimum sets (NMSs) for both scales were calculated. Comparison of the NMS for the 10 × 10 km grid with the near minimum set for existing reserves (NMSER) showed that at least 2% more of the land surface would be required above and beyond the existing protected area network, currently comprising 6% of the area, to ensure representation of all species at least once as listed within the present data-base. It is demonstrated that reserve systems selected on a variety of different criteria are suboptimal when compared to particular groups of target organisms with a definite goal of representation for conservation. Calculating efficiency of existing reserve systems and accounting for all taxa identifies precisely the extra required areas for the protected area system to satisfy particular goals of representation.