This BioProvince (as defined by Armen Takhtajan) comprises the coastal strip in east Africa extending from southern Somalia to the mouth of the Limpopo River and varies in width from about 50-100 km. The so-called Mozambique belt underlies much of this area and comprises the southern part of a network of Neoproterozoic-early Paleozoic orogenic belts, which formed during the development of Gondwana. It mostly lies below an altitude of 200 m and experiences an oceanic climate with a less severe dry season than the adjacent inland areas. The flora comprises some 3000 species and includes four endemic genera (Cephalosphaera, Englerodendron, Grandidiera and Stuhlmannia) and several hundred endemic species, although most of these are centred on the Shimba and East Usambara Mountains. A further seven genera including Bivinia, Hirtella, Ludia, and Hymenaea (Trachylobium) only occur in Madagascar outside this BioProvince, and two genera, Hirtella and Hymenaea, are abundantly represented in the American tropics but absent from west and central Africa. Many of the endemic plants, especially in the coastal forests, are regarded as relict species (palaeoendemics) that are thought to have evolved millions of years ago in ancient forests that once occurred over extensive areas of east Africa but as these shrunk due to climatic changes many of these species became confined to coastal forests, which have remained more climatically stable.
The following accounts for this BioProvince have been written or will be written with particular reference to endemic and locally important species. Accounts available are displayed in green or yellow. Those displayed in red are either in the pipeline or awaiting expert contributions.
|Endemic Vascular Plant Flora|