Central Asia - diversity hotspot
The Mountains of Central Asia Flora was listed as a biodiversity hotspot by Conservation International in February 2005. The Flora was previously overlooked; 5500 species including 1500 endemic species in 64 genera over an area of 863,362 km2. Only 20% of the flora remains, of which 6.9% is currently protected.
Cerastium lithospermifolium (Image: RBG Kew)
This botanically rich area has long been under-documented in the Western World. The Team has collected specimens, and plant locality and ecological data, as well as capturing photographic evidence of this fascinating place.
Presentation of the data was carried out rather differently from traditional flora-writing: the aim was to boost the knowledge of this flora by creating a 'species page' for each plant collected. A total of 229 pages were created for the first field trip to Kyrgyzstan. Each page has detailed identification notes, habitat and herbarium specimen images, photographs of flowers, and images captured through a light microscope, showing the diagnostic morphological characters. Data for these pages are compiled from plants collected during the fieldwork in Kyrgystan, photographs of habitats taken in the field and preparation of herbarium specimens at Kew.
This project aims at extending this database to the rest of the area making it available for a possible future online flora or further botanical studies.
Link to collections from Kyrgyzstan: coming soon!