The case for recording cultivated plants in floras of urban areas and some recommendations regarding their treatment
The botanical diversity attributed to any area is still largely based on the floristic accounts made of it. Traditionally, cultivated plants have been excluded from such treatments, though the recent attention given to escaped and naturalised plants in Floras has stimulated interest in recording introduced species. The acknowledgement of the ecological contribution made by garden plants is growing but a much clearer knowledge of their diversity and abundance is required if their role in ecosystems is to be understood. The urban environment is highly modified and conventional ecological concepts difficult to apply. A proper assessment of the horticultural plants which dominate the urban flora is therefore paramount. There are a number of perceived problems associated with the ecological and taxonomic study of cultivated plants, chiefly that they are inherently unstable in composition, difficult to identify to a satisfactory level, nomenclaturally confusing and often inaccessible. Here the argument is made that the factors which consistently influence the selection of cultivated plants creates predictable plant assemblages. The taxonomy and nomenclature that should be employed in recording cultivated plants as botanical entities is discussed. The inclusion of cultivated plants in urban floras will do much to raise the value placed in urban horticulture.
Armitage, J. and Zhang, L. (2017). The case for recording cultivated plants in floras of urban areas and some recommendations regarding their treatment. Acta Hortic. 1189, 383-388
urban floristics, biodiversity assessment, artificial ecologies