Diversity and Distribution of Vascular Plants in Nigeria
Nigeria harbors rich diversity of vascular plants having 285 families (42 ferns and fern allies, 5 gymnosperms, and 238 angiosperms), 1541 genera, and 5029 species (including 183 infraspecific taxa consisting of 45 subspecies, 133 varieties, and 5 forms). Leguminosae, Poaceae, Rubiaceae, Orchidaceae, and Cyperaceae are the largest 5 families. The Genus/Species ratio is 1/3.26(1541/5029). Primitive families of angiosperms are quite scarce excepting the aquatic Nymphaeceae. The 243 seed plant families consist of 171 tropical families, 56 cosmopolitan families and 16 temperate families, the tropical elements are absolutely dominant.
Currently there is no single Flora of Nigeria. Despite the enormous sacrifice of time and money, earlier projects ended inconclusively. It therefore becomes imperative to start documenting the vast plant diversity and resources of the Nigerian ecosystem as a prelude to the preparation of a Flora for Nigeria which is detailed as much as possible and acceptable. This will assist in the knowledge of the plant diversity of Nigeria, enhance the preparation of adequate conservation strategy and consequently stem the loss of plant diversity.
Abiodun E. Ayodele is from University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and Yong Yang is from Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences.