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Global and Trans-Continental Distributions

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a world map with the distribution of all conifer species and maps of the families and genera with a wide, trans-continental but not highly fragmented distribution. Small maps of all families are given together to compare their global ranges. The global distribution of all 615 conifer species shows distinct patterns. Eight families are recognized in conifers and both the number of taxa included and their geographical distribution vary widely, from monospecific to 231 species and from a single country to all continents except Antarctica. In a phylogenetic context, extant conifers divide into exclusively northern and southern clades. Although much of the taxonomic diversity within these families is of relatively recent (Neogene) age, their more basal lineages date from the Mesozoic, with Araucariaceae, Podocarpaceae, Taxaceae and Sciadopityaceae diverging by the beginning of the Triassic and Cupressaceae and Pinaceae by the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous.

Keywords:Araucariaceae; conifer species; Cupressaceae; Pinaceae; Podocarpaceae; Taxaceae; trans-continental distribution



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