Biogeographical patterns in the British and Irish flora

TitleBiogeographical patterns in the British and Irish flora
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsPreston, CD, Hill, MO, Harrower, CA, Dines, TD
JournalNew Journal of Botany
Start Page96

The hectad (10x10 km square) distributions of the 1405 native British and Irish vascular plants were classified by the SPHERIKM cluster analysis program into 20 clusters, each of which is characterised by the key species used to initiate the cluster. The clusters reflect the influence of climate, altitude, geology, and habitat on distribution patterns at this scale. Clusters with restricted distributions have high concentrations of threatened species, particularly the Medicago sativa cluster, centred on Breckland (55% of the species are threatened in Britain, although only 29% are regarded as priorities for conservation), and the Carex atrata cluster of montane species (45% threatened, and 49% conservation priority species). Some clusters are composed predominantly of species with similar European distributions whereas others are much more phytogeographically heterogeneous. A comparison with a similar analysis of the distribution of British and Irish mosses and liverworts reveals many similarities, especially between the vascular plants and the mosses, although there are many more common vascular plants than bryophytes and many more coastal species.