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Abstract

OVERVIEW OF BOTANICAL DIVERSITY

Virginia possesses a unique and varied assemblage of plant life. There are 3,164 species, subspecies and varieties of plants in Virginia (Weakley et al. 2012). As classified by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Natural Heritage (DCR-DNH), they form some 94 ecological groups and 317 community types across five distinct physiographic provinces: Coastal Plain, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and Appalachian Plateau. The state extends 469 miles from east to west and 201 miles north to south at the widest points, enclosing 42,326 square miles of territory. This diverse range of environmental conditions supports the wide diversity of plant life found within the state. Virginia is on the northern boundary of many southern plant species and on the southern boundary of many northern plant species. This range overlap combined with seashore to mountain variation leads to one of the richer diversities of plant life within the continental United States. ....

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