Donald Pinkava’s studies on the vascular flora of the Bolsón de Cuatro Ciénegas in the Chihuahuan Desert, updates, and taxonomic information on Acanthaceae in the region

  • Thomas F. Daniel California Academy of Sciences

Abstract

In 1967 Donald Pinkava began botanical exploration of the then little-studied Bolsón de Cuatro Ciénegas in the east-central portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. This closed (i.e., internally drained) basin contains an unusual assemblage of biotic communities in a relatively small region. Following 10 years of field studies, between 1979 and 1984 Pinkava published catalogs of the vascular flora of his 2,000 km2 study area, and documented 860 species in 456 genera from 114 families. He also recognized and summarized eight “vegetation zones” in the study area: aquatic and semiaquatic habitats, gypsum dunes, basin sacaton grasslands, a transition zone, desertscrub, chaparral, oak-pine and oak woodlands, and montane conifer forests. Some updates and discussions are offered relative to both the flora and vegetation of the basin area. The botanical richness of this region is illustrated by Acanthaceae. A key to and synopsis of the 13 species in six genera of that family occurring there are provided. Lists comparing Acanthaceae in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts are also appended. Pinkava’s pioneering botanical inventory in and around the Bolsón de Cuatro Ciénegas was both timely and has had a significant impact on subsequent efforts to preserve this precious natural resource of international significance.

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Published
2022-07-15
How to Cite
Daniel, T. F. (2022). Donald Pinkava’s studies on the vascular flora of the Bolsón de Cuatro Ciénegas in the Chihuahuan Desert, updates, and taxonomic information on Acanthaceae in the region. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 16(1), 281-295. https://doi.org/10.17348/jbrit.v16.i1.1233