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Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak: Myrtaceae

Completion of the Myrtaceae account for the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak – and associated taxonomy

Syzygium sp. © E. Lucas.

With c. 4,000 species, the richest tree Flora in the Old World is found in north-west Borneo. Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei almost entirely encompass this plant geographic promise and, though comprising less than one third of Borneo, include c. 80% of its tree species. Myrtaceae is of particular interest as it includes the most species rich tree genus on the island, Syzygium with 175 species recognised in the account for the Flora.
A systematic and evolutionary comparison of Syzygium with other large genera is proving valuable in elucidating processes of evolution, particularly speciation, in hyperdiverse ecosystems, and the relative role of ecologically neutral influences and niche specificity in ecosystem structure.
Kew’s extensive and type-rich collection of Southeast Asian Myrtaceae forms the basis of collaborative alpha-taxonomic study of the family in this area. This is aided by Kew’s participation in an active international network, enabling idea sharing and taxonomic exchange.
Key publications since 2006
  • Ashton, P.S. (2006) New Syzygium (Myrtaceae) from northern Borneo. Kew Bul. 61: 107-144.
  • Ashton, P.S. (in press) Tree flora of Sabah and Sarawak, Myrtaceae. Malaysian Nature Society.

Project partners and collaborators

MalaysiaForest Research Institute Malaysia
USAArnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Project team

Herbariu, Library, Art and Archives

Peter Ashton (Honorary Research Associate), Eve Lucas, Ana Claudia Araujo

Project Leader: