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The Moss Project of Thailand

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Welcome to the Moss Flora of Thailand (MFT) web site. This is an ongoing project to publish taxonomic treatments of 61 families, 246 genera, and 830 species of mosses native to Thailand. It is estimated that the Flora represents about 25% of all mosses known in Asia and 75% of all mosses in the mainland Southeast Asia. The purpose of the project is to synthesize knowledge of Thai mosses accumulated over last three decades by the PI of this project and the Thai colleagues through a joint international effort. A complete, up-to-date taxonomic account of all Thai mosses with illustrations and distribution maps will be published in four printed volumes. All information will be made available online, including a fully searchable interactive database of all species treated in the flora. The basic information presented in the MFT will be useful in gathering data on global patterns of moss species richness in different parts of the world.

     The MFT represents the richest moss diversity among the Greater Indochina regions (Tan & Iwatsuki 1993). Phytogeographically, Thailand is situated in an important region forming a land bridge between the Malesian and Sino-Himalayan floras. In northern part of the country plants are very poor in dry lowlands, but grow vigorously in moist evergreen forests that are developing at altitude above 1,000 meters. The mosses of high elevations in the north exhibit close affinities to those of eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. In the south, most species occurring there belong to the so-called Malesian elements known from Malay Peninsula, Java, Sumatra, and its archipelago. It appears that the Himalayan elements possess a distribution range from Himalayan mountains, eastwards to southwestern China, upper Myanmar, and northern Thailand into Laos and northern Vietnam. Occasionally, these elements have their ranges up to Taiwan and the southern edge of Japan, but they have rarely extended southwards beyond the central plain in Thailand. The Malesian elements clearly predominate in the “Peninsula” and southeastern Thailand (Iwatsuki 1972). In the case that some species were reported from both northern and the Peninsular Thailand, these elements often have a much wider distributional range and usually occur throughout tropical Asia with a pantropic and paleotropic distribution pattern. The characteristics of diverse distributional patterns demonstrated by Thai mosses are primarily due to the large Central Plain and the Korat Plateau in the east that both have a dry climate and both are situated intermediately between monsoon and tropical regions. Topographically, a broad zonation belt is formed in the central, which separates the country into two geographic regions: one in the north and northeast and the other in the southeast and the “Peninsula”. In a biogeographical standpoint Thailand is divided into two floristic regions, so-called the Sino-Himalayan region and the Malesian region. Indeed, Thailand contains one of the tectonically most important and complicated terrains in Asia extending from north to south with 15 degrees of latitude differences (6º–21º North). The complicated topography and diverse climates, coupled with its great latitudinal difference, have resulted in enormous vegetational and floristic diversity.


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Collaborators: 

Dr. Sahut Chantanaorrapint, Prince Songkhla University

Dr. Phiangphak Sukkharak, Burapha University

Dr. Narin Printarakul, Chiang Mai University

Project Contact:

Si He, Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110. E-mail: si.he@mobot.org

 
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