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Acta botánica mexicana

versión On-line ISSN 2448-7589versión impresa ISSN 0187-7151


ESPEJEL, Ileana et al. Flora on beaches and coastal sand dunes of México. Act. Bot. Mex [online]. 2017, n.121, pp.39-81. ISSN 2448-7589.

Background and Aims:

The first updated floristic checklist, supported with herbarium specimens, is presented for beaches and coastal sand dunes of Mexico.


The analysis is based on the revision of 14 national and foreign herbaria. A 2 x 2 km grid was placed over a map of the coastal sand dunes of Mexico to reference the herbarium records, corresponding to the 2180 sites and 12,419 examples of plants documented. Indices of diversity, similarity, taxonomic diversity, and redundancy were calculated.

Key results:

The flora of the beaches and coastal sand dunes of Mexico consists of 153 families, 897 genera, and 2075 species of vascular plants. These represent 9.5% of the vascular flora of Mexico. The herbaria with high indices of redundancy (IR≥0.7) are the herbarium of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (IR=0.9), the Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán (CICY, IR=0.8), the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (HCIB), the Instituto de Ecología, A.C. (XAL) and the Natural Museum in San Diego (SD), each with an IR of 0.7. Five floristic regions are clearly recognized, which correspond to the seas of Mexico. The North Pacific has the highest taxonomic diversity and the South Pacific has the least. The Gulf of California, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea have very similar taxonomic diversity. The species with the most recorded occurrences are Trianthema portulacastrum (165), Croton punctatus (107), Echites umbellatus (106) and Ipomoea pes-caprae (90). Considering the ecotonal nature of the ecosystem, most dune plants are shared with neighboring vegetation (forests, scrubs, wetlands, such as marshes or mangrove swamps).


This first checklist of the flora of beaches and coastal dunes is the baseline for multiple future studies: floristic, biogeographic, and ecological. Moreover, this list will be important if used in environmental assessments and coastal zone plans.

Palabras llave : coastal ecosystems; coastal vegetation; ecotone; national floristic analyses; vascular plants.

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