By Peter M. Jørgensen, David A. Neill, and Susana León-Yánez
The Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Ecuador documents 15,901 plant species known to occur in Ecuador and lists an additional 186 species that are expected to occur. Of the total figure, 595 species are considered to be introduced. Of the 15,306 native species, 4,173 are recorded as endemic to Ecuador. The Catalogue accounts for all plant species included in the published volumes of the Flora of Ecuador (Harling & Sparre, 1973–1986; Harling & Andersson, 1986–1998) and all names listed in Index Kewensis and Gray Card Index as being published on Ecuadorian material. Names used in the Flora of the Galápagos Islands (Wiggins & Porter, 1971), Flora of the Río Palenque Science Center—Los Ríos Province, Ecuador (Dodson & Gentry, 1978a), La Flora de Jauneche—Los Ríos, Ecuador (Dodson et al., 1985), Flowering Plants of Amazonian Ecuador—a checklist (Renner et al., 1990), and Seed Plants of the High Andes of Ecuador—a checklist (Jørgensen & Ulloa Ulloa, 1994) have likewise been included. It also attempts to account for all names used for specimens in three databases maintained at the Department of Systematic Botany at Aarhus University and Missouri Botanical Garden, and a database of collections of seed plants from the High Andes of Ecuador (Jørgensen & Ulloa Ulloa, 1994). The Catalogue provides a synopsis of the flora of vascular plants found in Ecuador by presenting each species with its synonyms, infraspecific taxa, habit, provenance, and regional, political, and elevational distribution. The number of references cited surpasses 2,500, and more than 13,000 synonyms are listed.
The project, based at the Missouri Botanical Garden, is a cooperative effort between the Herbario QCA at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, the Herbario Nacional del Ecuador at the Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales, and the Department of Systematic Botany at Aarhus University in Denmark. A total of 239 specialists have participated as authors and/or served as reviewers of treatments.
The Catalogue was produced along the lines of the Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Gymnosperms of Peru (Brako & Zarucchi, 1993) and will serve as baseline information on Ecuadorian vascular plants. We hope that the Catalogue will stimulate research on the plants of Ecuador by facilitating the gathering of more data on morphology, phylogenetic position, distribution, and useful properties. The number of attributes included in the inventory was purposely limited to produce a comparable dataset, i.e., providing the same amount of information for each accepted species.
An online version of the Catalogue appears on this site. The database will house images of plant species or individual specimens, as far as they are available, to facilitate recognition and identification—and it will allow us to update the Catalogue in the future. We would be very grateful to receive new information and updates on the Catalogue web versions.