Baja California: Flora Fantastica

Lunes 3 de diciembre de 2012  - Seminario extraordinario

Sala de Seminarios I, Edificio Anexo a Posgrado 13:00 h.

The Baja California peninsula is a narrow strip of land stretching for approximately 1300 km in length and ranging from 45 km to 240 km in width. Its geographic position, latitudinal span, and topographic heterogeneity have conferred a diverse assemblage of weather regimes including a Mediterranean-type, winter rainfall climate; extreme arid, hot desert conditions; and tropical, summer rainfall patterns. In addition, the region's biogeographic history and physiognomy have resulted in a wide range of vegetation types which include coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodland, conifer forest, many desert scrub types, and tropical deciduous forest. The peninsula is also characterized by the presence of several islands varying in distance (<1 km to 240 km) from its coast, which are located in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortés) and the Pacific Ocean. This piece of land and its adjacent islands support a wealth of species diversity in many different plant families. It is estimated that the flora consists of more than 4,000 plant taxa with approximately 30% of these known only from (endemic to) the Baja California region. Many of the plants from the peninsula and its islands are distinctive and stretch the imagination in respect to plant form and structure-including the bizarre Boojum Tree/Cirio (Fouquieria columnaris), the giant Elephant Cactus/Cardón (Pachycereus pringlei), and elephant trees (Pachycormus discolor and Bursera spp.). With more than 300 succulent plant taxa present and a rather high rate of endemism, the cacti and succulents of Baja California are a conspicuous and truly unique part of the peninsula's natural history.