Friday, December 31, 2010

FoxNews.com - World's Plant Life Far Less Diverse Than Previously Thought

How many different types of plants do you think there are on Earth? A few million? Ten million? Guess again.

The world's plant life is far less diverse than previously thought, with a review of about one million named plants finding that only one third of them are unique.

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, in southwestern London, has published "The Plant List" online Wednesday, updating a project conceived 130 years ago by the British naturalist Charles Darwin.

The list attempts to identify every plant known to science, and was begun in the 1880s with the help of a bequest from Darwin.


The review found 300,000 unique species, and 480,000 synonyms for those species, meaning that many had been "discovered" and named several times by botanists.

Another 260,000 names were listed as "unresolved," meaning that botanists have so far been unable to determine whether they are a separate species of a duplication of one of the 300,000.



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/12/30/worlds-plant-life-far-diverse-previously-thought/#ixzz19hwzou33

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