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A Checklist of Angiosperm Diversity of Bowen University Campus, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria



Michael O. Soladoye, Emmanuel C. Chukwuma, John A. Fagbenro and Emmanuel O. Adelagun
 
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ABSTRACT

The present work examines the angiosperm diversity of Bowen University, Iwo. Conventional methods of species enumeration as described by previous authors were employed and a comprehensive record of the existing species compiled. A total of 110 species in 96 genera and 42 families were recorded. Asteraceae, Euphorbiaceae and Poaceae were dominant with 10, 8 and 8 species, respectively. The trees also constituted the highest number with 47 species (42.72%). Further findings showed that 84 genera were represented with only 1 species each while others had 2 species each except Ficus with 4 species. This work suggests a look at the posible establishment of arboretum for ex-situ conservation within the study area.

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Michael O. Soladoye, Emmanuel C. Chukwuma, John A. Fagbenro and Emmanuel O. Adelagun, 2015. A Checklist of Angiosperm Diversity of Bowen University Campus, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria. Journal of Plant Sciences, 10: 244-252.

DOI: 10.3923/jps.2015.244.252

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=jps.2015.244.252
 
Received: September 01, 2015; Accepted: October 12, 2015; Published: November 11, 2015



INTRODUCTION

The assessment of biological diversity has continued to attract the interest of scientists all over the world. According to Mittermeier et al. (2004), West African rainforests rank among the 34 most important biodiversity hotspots of the world. Nigeria with a rich biodiversity and tropical forest resources has been faced with challenges to species conservation, resulting from a number of human activities. One of such is habitat degradation. Apart from the protected areas, most of the country’s natural habitats have already been converted to human-dominated ecosystems, such as farmland and pastures, plantations as wells as urban and industrial areas. The rainforest and savanna woodland areas are the habitat types that are most threatened especially by agricultural conversion, as reported by USAID (2013). Taxonomic surveys have been helpful in documenting the species that had one time or the other existed in different locations within the country (Soladoye et al., 2005, 2013; Anoliefo et al., 2006) and the value of any biodiversity analysis and the adequacy of conservation measures depend on the quality of basic data, as put by Valdecasas and Camacho (2003). Similar studies have also been used to document medicinal plants reported to be valuable in the traditional management of ailments in Nigeria and other West African countries (Bhat et al., 1990; Asase et al., 2005; Soladoye et al., 2014). However, Gbile et al. (1981) recorded 492 plant species in 112 families to be threatened, while Oguntala et al. (1996) reported 85 endangered tree species for Cross River State and its environs. With the continuous threat to species availability therefore, this study aims to document the numerous flora species existing within the Bowen University campus, Iwo and highlights the need for practical conservation to salvage our rich but endangered flora.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Study area: Bowen University is situated in Iwo, one of the major cities in South West Nigeria on a 640 ha site. It lies on longitude 7°38’ N and latitude 4°11’ E at an altitude of 322 m above sea level (Fig. 1).

Species enumeration: The study was initiated in 2012 and completed in 2014. Field collection of plant species occurring within the university community was embarked upon. Representative specimens of each species were collected and identified using the taxonomic keys provided in Hutchinson et al. (1972), Lowe and Stanfield (1974), Lowe (1989) and Keay (1989) and comparison with existing collections deposited at Forest Herbarium, Ibadan (FHI) (Holmgren et al. 1990). Correct names of the identified species follow International Plant Name Index (IPNI). A comprehensive list of species was thereafter carefully documented, along with their families, habits and local name(s) with which they are known within the study area.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A total of 110 species in 96 genera and 42 plant families were recorded from the study identified (Table 1). In all, the family Asteraceae was dominant with 9 genera and 10 species, respectively (Table 2). This was followed by Euphorbiaceae and Poaceae (7genera, 8 species each), Amaranthaceae (5 genera, 6 species) and Verbenaceae (5 genera and 5 species), respectively.

Image for - A Checklist of Angiosperm Diversity of Bowen University Campus, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria
Fig. 1:Location map of the study area (source: Google map, 2015)

Table 1:A formatted list of plant species within the study area
Image for - A Checklist of Angiosperm Diversity of Bowen University Campus, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria
Image for - A Checklist of Angiosperm Diversity of Bowen University Campus, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria
Image for - A Checklist of Angiosperm Diversity of Bowen University Campus, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria

As observed, a number of plant families also have only one species represented in each genus/genera as the case may be. Their existence also reflects the previously rich biodiversity existing within the university premises prior to developmental activities. In general, a total of 84 genera were represented with only 1 species each while the remaining 12 had more than one species represented. Of these 10, only Ficus was represented with 4 species and the others had two each. Further results based on the life forms of these plant species also revealed that the study area is dominated by trees, as they constitute 42.73% (47 species) of the total enumeration. This was closely followed by the herbs, with 34 species (30.91%) and the shrubs with 17 species (15.45%) while the grasses contributed 9.09% (Fig. 2). Occurrence of the climbers (<2%) however is also an indication of their role in ecosystem maintenance.

It is noteworthy that the legumes contributed 8 species (Caesalpinioideae-4, Mimosoideae-3 and Papilionoideae-1) and these are all trees. The absence of other plant habits within this group, especially shrubs and climbers is surprising and points to urbanization as a big threat to species diversity within and outside the study area. Interestingly, of all the 47 plant families identified (Fig. 3), the trees are dominant and are represented in 25 of these angiosperm families, followed by the shrubs in 15 families and the herbs in 12 families. The grasses and climbers are also represented in 2 and 1 families, respectively as shown in Fig. 4.

The avalanche of species, especially trees and herbs, as recorded in this work is an indication that the study area is home to many plant species that could be screened for medicinal properties, thus reflecting the biodiversity richness of the study area and the neighbouring communities at large.

Table 2:Occurrence of genera and species within the respective plant families
Image for - A Checklist of Angiosperm Diversity of Bowen University Campus, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria

Some of these species have been reported by some authors of medicinal plants studies (Okoli et al., 2007; Odugbemi, 2008) to mention but a few. A number of them also serve economic purposes and are consumed as food in one way or the other. Some of these include: Amaranthus viridis, Blighia sapida, Carica papaya, Cocos nucifera, Mangifera indica, Musa sapientum, Parkia biglobosa, Vernonia amygdalina, etc. This justifies the importance of plant species in the maintenance of ecosystem and as a source of livelihood for man. The parallel venation (in the leaves) exhibited by Calophyllum inophyllum is an interesting feature which should also encourage the protection of this dicot species possessing a monocot characteristics, although it was introduced to our region but now naturalized.

Image for - A Checklist of Angiosperm Diversity of Bowen University Campus, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria
Fig. 2:Percentage of species occurrence within the identified plant habits

Image for - A Checklist of Angiosperm Diversity of Bowen University Campus, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria
Fig. 3:Percentage distribution of genera across plant families

Image for - A Checklist of Angiosperm Diversity of Bowen University Campus, Iwo, Osun State, Nigeria
Fig. 4:No. of families represented by each plant habit

Apart from the present study, several authors have also documented the existing angiosperm species in some parts of the country (Bamidele et al., 2011; Soladoye et al., 2011; Ariwaodo et al., 2012). Nevertheless, the reports by Gbile et al. (1981) and Oguntala et al. (1996) are some indications that the Nigerian ecosystems are at greater risk if urgent attention is not given.

CONCLUSION

This study has clearly shown the importance of biodiversity assessment and monitoring in Nigeria and the world at large. The numerous species recorded suggest the need for the establishment of arboretum and botanical garden within and outside the study area, for the purpose of ex-situ conservation. It also suggests a close monitoring of the university ecosystem by the appropriate authorities to checkmate the indiscriminate application of herbicides, which is also a contributory factor to species loss.

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