How many flowering plants are in India? : 5 posts by 5 authors.
We all must be grateful to Sir J.D.Hooker, who with his associate taxonomists produced a masterpiece of work published as ‘Flora of British India’ with its jurisdiction as British Indian Empire (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malayan Peninsula, Bhutan, Tibet etc.). Herein, he described 14,312 species of flowering plants. However, since its publication in 1872-1898, many new species and genera have been added to the flora of present India alone. We, in India are still not able to completely revise Hooker’s masterpiece to produce a national flora while the countries as big and diverse as USSR, China, Australia etc have completed their nation floras and much of the information are available on the web. In fact we all use eFlora China as one of the most reliable taxonomic resource in this forum.
The objective of posing this question in subject line is to know the current situation about the number of flowering plants in India. In my lectures in Taxonomy courses it becomes embarrassing to me to say that there are different estimates as variable as 15,000 species (Rao 1994), 16,809 species (Karthikeyan,2000 which I most often quotes), 17,000 species (Khoshoo 1995, Singh et al.2001), 17,500 species (Sharma et al.1997), 18,000 species (Sanjappa et al.2004), 20,247 species (Chowdhery and Murti,2000), and more recently 20,074 (Karthikeyan,2009) etc.
Shouldn’t we know in this forum that which number we are chasing for wild flora of India?
Since more and more hard core angiosperm taxonomists are also joining this group I am expecting a figure (with reference) which will be recent and reliable.
BSI’s publication “Plant Discoveries” released on 05th June 2013 quotes the following figures for plant wealth of India:
Angiosperms : 17926
I think this is latest official…..
I think it is reasonable and correct. We have long been estimating between 16000-18000 species