Diversity and phytogeography of vascular epiphytes in a tropical-subtropical transition island, Taiwan
Endemism, Epiphyte-quotient, Floristic affinity, Late Quaternary climate change, Neo-wallace line, Paleotropics
We present the first checklist of vascular epiphytes in Taiwan, based on herbarium specimens, literature records, and field observations. Epiphyte phytogeography was analyzed using Takhtajan's modified division in floristic regions. We ascertain the presence of 336 species of vascular epiphytes (24 families, 105 genera) in Taiwan. Pteridophytes contribute most species (171 species), followed by orchids (120 species). Epiphytes contribute 8% to Taiwanese floristic diversity and epiphyte endemism is near 21.3%. The extensive mountain system is probably the most effective driver for epiphyte diversification and endemicity in Taiwan. Phytogeographically, Taiwanese epiphytes exhibit equal affinity to the Malesian region, southern China and Indo-China and Eastern Asiatic regions. However, some species have a disjunctive distribution between Taiwan and SW China and/or E Himalaya, presumably related to low habitat similarity with adjacent China and/or the legacy of Late Quaternary climate change. Vascular epiphyte distribution patterns corroborate the phytogeographical separation of the island of Lanyu from the main island of Taiwan along Kanto's Neo-Wallace Line.