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An Annotated Checklist and Atlas of the Mosses of Thailand

Welcome | Abstract | Introduction | Acknowledgments
Systematic Arrangement of Genera | Recognized Species
Checklist | Literature Cited

Phytogeography

The moss flora of Thailand, with 652 taxa, is comparable to that of neighboring countries or regions, such as Borneo, Java, Malay Peninsula, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam (Table 2). Phytogeographically, Thailand is a transitional region forming a bridge between the Malayan-Philippine and Sino-Himalayan floras. In the northern part of Thailand plants in the dry lowlands are very poor, but grow vigorously in moist evergreen forests that are developing at altitude above 1,000 meters (Iwatsuki 1972). The mosses of high elevations in the north exhibit affinities to those of eastern Himalayas, Myanmar, and southwestern China (Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou). Many species of the Brachytheciaceae, Entodontaceae, Thuidiaceae, and Hylocomiaceae as well as the species of Bryowijkia Nog., Calyptothecium Mitt., Dixonia Horik. & Ando, and Penzigiella Fleisch. show this affinity. In the southern part of Thailand most species occurring there belong to the Malayan elements known from Malay Peninsula, Java, Sumatra, and its archipelago as well as the Philippines. These include many species of the Calymperaceae and Sematophyllaceae, and those of Hypnodendron (C. Muell.) Lindb. ex Mitt., Mniomalia C. Muell., and Neolindbergia Fleisch. It appears that the Sino-Himalayan elements have rarely extended southwards beyond the central plain in Thailand. The Malayan-Philippine elements clearly predominate in the "Peninsula" and southeastern Thailand. There are a significant number of species that were reported from both northern and peninsular Thailand. These elements usually have much wider distributional patterns throughout East and South Asia and often have pantropic and paleotropic distribution.

The diverse distributional patterns of Thai mosses are primarily due to the country's diverse climates and landscapes. The climates in the large central plain and the Korat Plateau in the east are dry and are intermediate between the monsoon regions and tropical regions. A broad zonation belt is formed centrally, which separates the country into two climatic zones. It is practical in biogeographical standpoint to divide Thailand into two floristic regions, the Sino-Himalayan region in the north and northeast and the Malayan region in the southeast and the "Peninsula". The distribution of the pteridophytes in Thailand is clearly determined by the climatic factors (Iwatsuki 1972). The floristic affinities of Thai mosses with adjacent East and South Asian countries are shown in Fig. 1.

Table 2. Floristic composition of the adjacent countries or regions of Thailand with number of taxa in common to the Thai moss flora

Country or regionNo. of Genera No. of TaxaPublication No. of Taxa in common with Thai mosses
Borneo
166
649
Touw 1978277 (42.5%)
Whole China
413
2457
Redfearn, Tan & He 1996 387 (59.4%)
SW China
355
1560
per this study299 (45.9%)
East India
274
990
Gangulee 1969-1980365 (56%)
Japan
321
1183
Iwatsuki 1991196 (30.1%)
Java
176
650
Fleischer 1904-1923298 (45.7%)
Kampuchea
73
152
Tan & Iwatsuki 1993 113 (17%)
Thailand
191
652
per this study
Laos
82
145
Tan & Iwatsuki 1993 107 (16.4%)
Malay Peninsula
134
475
Mohamed & Tan 1988 234 (35.9%)
Myanmar
139
319
Tan & Iwatsuki 1993 234 (35.9%)
New Guinea
210
830
Koponen 1990231 (35.4%)
Philippines
230
700
Tan & Iwatsuki 1991 326 (50%)
Sumatra
??
??
 198 (30.4%)
Taiwan
258
907
Redfearn, Tan & He 1996 278 (42.6%)
Vietnam
180
595
Tan & Iwatsuki 1993 277 (42.5%)

Geographical Regions

Figure 1. Floristic affinities of Thai mosses (652 taxa). Percentage share of common species from adjacent regions in East Asia are shown over each column. 1. Borneo. 2. Whole China. 3. Southwestern China. 4. East India. 5. Japan. 6. Java. 7. Kampuchea. 8. Thailand. 9. Laos. 10. Malay Peninsula. 11. Myanmar. 12. New Guinea. 13. Philippines. 14. Sumatra. 15. Taiwan. 16. Vietnam.

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