Succulent life forms are a prominent feature of the Sonoran Gulf of California islands (Alcatraz, Cholludo, Dátil, Patos, San Esteban, San Pedro Mártir, San Pedro Nolasco, and Tiburón). Among a total flora of 378 species of vascular plants, there are 62 succulent taxa (16%) in 16 families and 33 genera, which we place in three categories: xerophytic succulents (32), semisucculents (22), and halophytic succulents (8). Succulent plant distribution on each island is unique and reflects the shaping climatic, biotic (including herbivores), soil, and topographical features of each of these microcosms. Cactaceae is the most diverse family (25 taxa), with six endemic species, all small cacti, found on Islas San Esteban, San Pedro Nolasco, Dátil, and Cholludo. The smaller islands in the region have a significantly higher percentage of succulent species. Here we present a discussion of the different succulent categories and a detailed floristic listing for all succulent species, which represents the first specimen-based flora of succulents from Gulf of California islands.
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Vol. 2008 • No. 14