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The vascular flora of Rome

Celesti-Grapow, L., Capotorti, G., Del Vico, E., Lattanzi, E., Tilia, A., Blasi, C.
Plant biosystems 2013 v.147 no.4 pp. 1059-1087
conservation plants, data collection, flora, freshwater, herbaria, humans, indigenous species, inventories, species diversity, surveys, urban areas, vegetation, woody plants, Italy
The aim of this paper is to document plant diversity in the metropolitan area of Rome (Italy) by providing a comprehensive inventory of the present-day vascular flora and an overview of its composition and species diversity. We compiled the floristic catalogue by including all vascular plant entities that occur spontaneously within the administrative boundaries of the Rome municipality. The data, which were gathered from extensive field surveys, from a broad review of the literature and from herbaria records, were updated and integrated in a comprehensive account. The inventory of the flora of metropolitan Rome lists 1649 entities, from 139 families and 677 genera. The flora contains 228 taxa that are non-native to the Italian flora, 81 of which are established in the study area. The overview of flora reveals a remarkable species diversity and outlines the main characteristics of the flora of Rome, which may be summarized as (1) a large number of taxa of high conservation value which occur in remnants of near-natural vegetation, (2) the loss or decline of some species, particularly of native freshwater plants, (3) a remarkably high native species richness within the urban area, which includes many native woody species and (4) a rich ruderal flora, prevalently composed of native species that are well adapted to human disturbance, along with a variety of taxa of non-native or uncertain origin. The large set of data and the overview presented in this paper represent a fundamental framework for future research and for the conservation of plant diversity in metropolitan Rome.