An Analysis of the Flora
The Philippines has a long and complex history that has included waves
of plant introductions. Some of these can be considered natural,
i.e. occurring not as a result of the actions of humans. Those
species that arrived in the Philippines as a result of natural
dispersal and population movement are considered native, as are the
indigenous species whose origins trace to the Philippines.
In contrast, there are species whose center of origin is outside the
Philippines but whose presence there can be directly or indirectly
the actions of humans. Such introductions may have occurred many
millennia ago, particularly for plants that were useful to humans and
therefore cultivated. Because the Philippines is a tropical
country, it is possible to here cultivate plants from many parts of the
world. For this reason, the list of plants that are cultivated in
the Philippines could be quite extensive, albeit not particularly
useful for documenting the flora. In addition to commonly
cultivated species, it appears the Leonard Co also
included introduced ones that have escaped from cultivation
and persist without human intervention. Such plants are referred to as
Analysis of the Flora
All family, genus and species names used in Co’s Digital Flora
were entered into a spreadsheet (available upon request) which then
allowed various analyses to be conducted. A tabulation of which
species are native as opposed to introduced and/or naturalized was
then made using information in Co’s text, as well as other
sources. Native species that are also cultivated in the
Philippines were included in the native category. Conversely,
non-native cultivated species were included in the introduced category.
This tabulation should be considered a rough estimate given that each
species was not researched individually in this context.
Considering the number of taxa for the entire flora (including
subspecies, varieties and forms across all taxonomic groups) there
exists 9555 taxa of native plants and 618 taxa of introduced
(naturalized or not) and cultivated plants for a total of 10,173 taxa
(names). When counting only species (lumping all subspecific
ranks), the total is 9850. These species occur in 1933 genera which are
in 255 families. The family concept used here is a modified version of
APGIII (2009). Non-native, introduced plants thus constitute just
over 6% of the Philippine flora.
The flora can also be assessed along taxonomic lines. For the
pteridophytes (technically lycophytes and monilophytes), the vast
majority of plants are named at the species level without subspecific
ranks, so here taxon nearly equals species. Moreover, essentially
all species were recorded as being native. This scoring may well
be revised once complete entries for many species are available.
In any event, there are 1029 species of pteridophytes listed, these
being in 156 genera and 33 families. Thus, pteridophytes constitute
10.4% of the Philippine flora.
Of the three vascular plant groups, gymnosperms are the smallest with 7
families, 15 genera and 44 species. The majority of species are
native with 5 genera containing cultivated species: Araucaria, Cycas,
Cupressus, Juniperus, and Platycladus.
The angiosperms are the most diverse and numerous group in the
Philippine flora with 215 families, 1806 genera and 8853 species or
9105 taxa (names including all with subspecific ranks). Of these 9105
taxa, 8496 (93%) are native and 609 (7%) are non-native and/or
cultivated. Of the 1759 genera, 1601 (91%) are native and 158 (9%) are
introduced and/or cultivated.
The table below shows the 17 most-speciose genera in the Philippine
flora, i.e. those that have 50 or more
species. All but one (Diplazium) are angiosperms.
|Syzygium ||Myrtaceae ||192|
|Psychotria ||Rubiaceae ||123|
|Begonia ||Begoniaceae ||105|
|Cyrtandra ||Gesneriaceae ||104|
|Ficus ||Moraceae ||104|
|Elatostema ||Urticaceae ||96|
|Piper ||Piperaceae ||66|
|Schefflera ||Araliaceae ||65|
|Saurauia ||Actinidiaceae ||57|
|Pandanus ||Pandanaceae ||57|
|Ardisia ||Primulaceae ||57|
|Diplazium ||Woodsiaceae ||50|
Photographic Coverage of the Flora
The links to photographs on the PhytoImages server occur at the genus
and species ranks. For genera in which no photos yet exist on the
server, we have indicated “No Photos”. If the word Photos
is linked, this takes one to a window displaying all available photos
for that genus, whether any of the species derive from the Philippines
or not. We felt this was important because it allows the user to
at least get some photographic information on that genus instead of
none at all. In other cases, the photos for that genus, while not
being from plants taken in the Philippines, still represent the same
species as is found in that country. And of course, as Co’s
Digital Flora of the Philippines grows, more and more of the genera with “No
Photos” will be represented photographically. We
strongly encourage anyone with photos of plants in this category to
consider sharing those photos to fill the gap.
Tabulating our photographic coverage, it is excellent at the rank of
family with 97% for pteridophytes, 100% for gymnosperms, and 91% for
angiosperms. At the rank of genus, 79% for pteridophytes, 93% for
gymnosperms, and 69% for angiosperms. Finally, at the rank of species,
26% for pteridophytes, 29% for gymnosperms, and 22% for angiosperms.
For all taxonomic groups, 70% of the genera and 22% of the species have
Pelser, P.B., J.F. Barcelona & D.L. Nickrent (eds.). 2011 onwards.
Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines. www.philippineplants.org
Copyright © 2011, Co's Digital
Flora of the Philippines
Last updated October 21, 2012