Plant Diversity ›› 2018, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (04): 141-146.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2018.07.003

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Current progress and future prospects in phylofloristics

Rong Lia, Lishen Qiana,b, Hang Suna   

  1. a Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, China;
    b University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-04-16 Revised:2018-07-10 Online:2018-08-25 Published:2018-09-08
  • Contact: Hang Sun
  • Supported by:

    This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31570212, 31770228, 31370243) and the Talent Project of Yunnan (grant no. 2015HB092).


The species composition of regional plant assemblages can in large part be explained by a long history of biogeographical and evolutionary events. Traditional attempts of floristic studies typically focus on the analyses of taxonomic composition, often ignoring the rich context that evolutionary history can provide. In 2014, Swenson and Umaña introduced the term ‘phylofloristics’ to define a phylogenetically enabled analysis of the species composition of regional floras. Integrating phylogenetic information into traditional floristic analysis can provide a promising way to explore the ecological, biogeographic, and evolutionary processes that drive plant assemblies at multiple spatial scales. In this review, we summarize the current progress on the phylogenetic structure, spatial phylogenetic pattern, origin and diversification, phylogenetic regionalization of floristic assemblages, and application of phylogenetic information in biodiversity conservation. These summaries highlight the importance of incorporating phylogenetic information to improve our understanding of floristic assembly from an evolutionary perspective. The review ends with a brief outlook on future challenges for phylofloristic studies, including generating a highly resolved species-level phylogenetic tree, compiling detailed and refined information regarding the geographic distribution of all plant life, extracting trait information from publications and herbarium specimens, and developing technological and methodological approaches for big data analysis.

Key words: Big data, Biogeography, Ecology, Evolution, Flora, Mega-phylogeny