Island Flora

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Island Flora


the plant life of an isolated area of dry land. The more or less distinctive species composition of island flora is determined by the degree of isolation of the island and by the length of time the island has existed. It is also determined by the specific conditions surrounding the flora’s development.

As a rule, islands have fewer species than do continental areas of equal size. The most meager floras are found on young oceanic islands, such as the tropical coral islands of the Pacific. The floras of continental islands usually are quite distinctive and are noted for the richness of their species composition. The comparatively few species that make up the flora of the Galápagos Islands, the Juan Fernández Islands, the Mascarene Islands, St. Helena, and Ascension Island are distinctive and include a significant number of endemics, thus indicating the length of their isolated development.

The floras of old continental islands, such as New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Hawaii, are unique, reflecting the diversity of natural conditions and the completeness and long duration of isolation. The ancient forms of such island floras have been enriched by the formation of young species under conditions of prolonged isolation. Endemics are abundant, making up as much as 70 to 80 percent of the species composition. Endemism is less strongly expressed on islands that are not situated far from the mainland, such as Japan, Sri Lanka, and the Canary Islands.

The floras of such large continental islands as Indonesia and the Philippines often consist of as many species as those of the mainland but usually exhibit greater endemism. The kinship of island and continental floras reflects both modern and ancient relationships between the dry land and the sea. In addition, the directions of plant migrations in past epochs is reflected. (For example, the flora of the Hawaiian Islands, which lie closer to North America than to Asia, resembles the tropical floras of the Old World.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
They also hired a company from New Zealand that specialized in eradicating non-native animals from islands to help with the feral pigs, who were uprooting native groves of island oak and ironwood trees and destroying other island flora.
Botanists rank the flora of Socotra among the ten most endangered island flora in the world.
As members of his squadron lose their lives one after another, we see the young man change into the veteran fighter pilot, yet surprisingly preserve his observation of the island flora and fauna, his singing and baseball interests, and connection with his friends that have passed in and out of his life during the rush to war.
Seascapes, the island flora and fauna, the flight of birds, liturgy and contemporary issues all provide material for the poet's pen.
The addition of this species to the Mindanao flora highlights the past Gondwanic connection of the island flora.
pounds 1,690, incl two orchestral perfs at Music Festival of the Canaries, nine nights' superior hotel accom, all meals and wine, private transport, all tickets, entrance fees, tour leader throughout to see grand architecture and island flora and fauna.
Thus, as would be expected, of this majority condition among angiosperms, the island flora exhibits the range of habits and flower colors, sizes, and shapes.
There's good reason for the sheep's fondness for the island flora, the researchers report in the October Conservation Biology.
The sexuality of the Barro Colorado Island flora (Panama).
To calculate the degree of proximity of the island floras, a mathematical tool known as the Jaccard index was used, providing a quantitative view of their similarity.