Patterns and traits of the endemic plants of Greece




Greece is characterized by high plant diversity (5800 species) and endemism (15.6%). This study attempts a first overall assessment of the taxonomy, distribution, traits and conservation status of the Greek endemic plants. The endemic species belong to 56 families and 242 genera. Most of the endemic plants have a narrow geographical and altitudinal distribution range. The southern floristic regions are richer in endemic species. The species area relationships for endemics (EARs) for island and continental floristic regions explain over 50% of the variation in number of species and are characterized by steep curves. Analysis of the distributional pattern of the endemics by similarity coefficients offers useful insights into the palaeogeography and biogeography of Greece. The endemic species occur at all altitudes, but the altitudinal distribution shows a predominance of local endemics at 0–600 m in the island regions and in higher zones in the continental regions. The life form spectra show a predominance of hemicryptophytes and chamaephytes. This trait seems indicative of their habitat and adaptive strategy and may be related to speciation processes. The overview of the conservation status of the Greek endemics indicates that over 40% of the taxa are threatened or near threatened. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 162, 130–422.