Madagascar flora

Madagascar is home to as many as 12,000 plant species -- 70-80% of which are endemic -- making it one of the most diverse floras on the planet (for comparison, tropical Africa has 30,000-35,000 species and covers almost 35 times as much area as Madagascar source). Take a look at this sampling of Madagascar's plant richness:

  • 10 families and 260 genera of plants are endemic to Madagascar. Only Australia (with 13) has more endemic species of plants.
  • 165 of Madagascar's 170 palms are not found anywhere else. For comparison, mainland Africa has less than 60 species of palm
  • Of the 8 species of baobab found in the world, six are endemic to Madagascar
  • An entire family of plants, the Didiereaceae is unique to Madagascar. Didiereaceae plants are found in the arid southwest and closely resemble some forms of cacti. Unlike catci though, they produce small deciduous leaves which are protected by menacing thorns and spines that grow directly out of the plant's many branches.
  • 95% of the species found in the Spiny desert exist only in this habitat unique to Madagascar.
  • Madagascar has nearly 1000 known species of orchids, of which 85% are endemic.
  • Anti-cancer drugs (vincristine, vinblastine) derived from the Madagascar rosy periwinkle generated over a billion dollars in revenue for Eli Lilly & Co.
Ecosystems in Madagascar

Map showing land cover / vegetation types in Madagascar

Ecosystems in Madagascar - by park

Forest types in Madagascar

Forest classification table for Madagascar

The Missouri Botanical Garden has an excellent collection of photos and information on Madagascar's flora. Below are some links to Missouri Botanical Garden content.