Low Extinction Rates Made California a Refuge for Diverse Plant Species

Wildflowers, Coyote Ridge, Santa Clara County, CA California exhibits one of the richest floras on the planet, with more than 5,500 native plant species, approximately 40% of which are endemic. This study, published in Evolution, shows that California’s current biodiversity primarily results from low extinction rates, as opposed to elevated specialization or immigration rates, as previously believed.

Origin and diversification of the California flora: Reexamining classic hypotheses with molecular phylogenies
Lesley T. Lancaster and Kathleen M. Kay
Evolution, January 2013 (online)

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Posted on January 9, 2013