How many plants exist on earth? If you’ve ever wondered this, and about their future, here’s something for you! Kew Gardens has released its State of the World’s Plants report which documents current information about the status of the plant kingdom. Surprisingly, it’s the first of its kind.
Taking a year to compile, the report covers the rather large subjects of plant diversity, global threats, and policies dealing with those threats. While it collates a huge amount of available information, it also highlights shortcomings in how much is known. There are large parts of the world where there is little known about the plants, and only a small fraction of the genetic diversity of plants and whole-genome sequences is currently available.
And the message doesn’t get much brighter, the synopsis saying “Given the threats associated with climate change, land-use change, invasive plants and diseases, best estimates lead us to believe that 21% of the world’s plants are currently threatened with extinction.” It’s certainly a reminder that we can all do our bit at a local level by encouraging best practice when dealing with weeds and diseases to reduce invasive threats.
And the answer to that question is: an estimated 391,000 vascular plants are known to science of which 369,000 are flowering plants
To download a copy of the full report click here.