Annotated Checklist of the Plants of Sudan and South Sudan
Dr Maha Kordofani and Dr Iain Darbyshire (RBG Kew) studying one of only two known specimens of the Sudanese endemic Peristrophe (= Dicliptera) lanceolata, a propo
The Republic of Sudan and the recently seceded Republic of South Sudan together cover a vast area of tropical northeast Africa, ranging from hyper-arid desert in the north to rainforest and extensive wetlands in the south, and contain a diverse flora estimated at c. 4000 species. They are the only countries within the Drylands Africa remit without a recent completed or ongoing Flora project. The most recent country-wide account is the “Flora of the (Anglo-Egyptian) Sudan” of Andrews (1950–56) which, whilst providing a useful starting point for a modern checklist, is estimated to cover only c. 60% of the total species and the taxonomy requires much updating for the majority of plant groups. Excellent recent accounts focussing upon specific localities have been published, most notably “The Flora of Jebel Marra” by Wickens (1976) and “Flora of the Sudan-Uganda border area east of the Nile” by Friis & Vollesen (1998–2005), but vast areas of the two countries remain uncovered. An updated, accurate and comprehensive checklist is therefore sorely needed to provide a baseline reference for future botanical and conservation work in the Sudan region.
The checklist is being developed primarily through literature searches using library and web-based resources, and through reference to herbarium material from these countries. Much of the work is being carried out through the assistance of volunteers at Kew and through research visits by Sudanese botanists. The most extensive historical herbarium collections from Sudan are held at Kew and the Natural History Museum, whilst significant numbers of more recent herbarium collections are housed at the University of Khartoum.
Accepted scientific names, relevant synonymy, brief habit and habitat notes and both global and regional distribution will be listed for each species. In addition, a preliminary list of globally threatened plant species, their habitats and distribution within the region will be compiled, which will provide conservationists, land management agencies, and relevant governmental departments with key information on potential conservation priorities.
As of June 2010, 2600 species accounts have been completed for the checklist, approximately 65% of the total. As of 2011, three month-long research visits had been made by colleagues from the University of Khartoum; Kew staff have provided training and support during each of these visits. It is anticipated that the completed checklist will be published as a single-volume book; the associated database will be administered and regularly updated at Kew.
Project partners and collaborators
Botany Department (Herbarium), University of Khartoum