Life form, habitat, and nutritional mode of the flowering plants of central French Guiana
Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society
The flowering plants of central French Guiana comprise 1918 native species, including 549 species of herbs, 44 species of vines, 45 species of subshrubs, 269 species of shrubs, 245 species of lianas, and 766 species of trees. The habitat of the flowering plants of central French Guiana is primarily terrestrial. A total of 1653 species or 86% of the flora occurs in this habitat. However, the reproductive cycles of a majority of the flowering plants of central French Guiana take place in the crowns of trees. When the number of species of trees is added to the numbers of epiphytes, hemi-epiphytes, and aerial endophytes, tree crowns are the site of about 68% of the flowering plant reproductive activity in this forest. Heterotrophic vascular plants, with 36 species, make up 1.9% of the flora; 98.1% of the flowering plants of central French Guiana are autotrophs. Because of differences in definitions and lack of standardization in sampling, it is difficult to make valid comparisons with studies made in other geographic areas. We address the first problem by providing a glossary of terms used to describe the life form, habitat, and nutritional mode of plants and urge others to develop standardized sampling protocols.