PhytoKeys 23: 1–17, doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.23.4752
The Flora of Chad: a checklist and brief analysis
Giuseppe Brundu 1, Ignazio Camarda 1
1 Department of Science for Nature and Environmental Resources (DIPNET), University of Sassari, Via Piandanna 4, 07100 Sassari, Italy

Corresponding author: Giuseppe Brundu (

Academic editor: Sandra Knapp

received 23 January 2013 | accepted 9 May 2013 | Published 13 May 2013

(C) 2013 Giuseppe Brundu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

For reference, use of the paginated PDF or printed version of this article is recommended.


A checklist of the flora of Chad has been compiled by the authors, based on literature, on-line data-bases, herbarium collections and land surveys (1998-2011). It counts 2, 460 records, i.e. 2, 288 species (including 128 autonyms), 83 subspecies, 81 varieties, 8 forms, while all the previous available information reported 1, 600 species. They belong to 151 Families, with 48.7% of the taxa belonging to the 6 largest families, i.e. Poaceae (14.6%), Fabaceae (13.6%), Cyperaceae (7.0%), Asteraceae (6.2 %), Malvaceae (3.9%) and Rubiaceae (3.4%).

A total number or 2, 173 species (88.3%) are native to Chad, including 55 (2.2%) endemic species, while 274 (11.0%) are alien to Chad, and 13 (0.5%) are considered cryptogenic, i.e. of uncertain status. It represents a considerable update on previous knowledge on the alien flora of Chad that counted for 131 taxa (5.3%). There are 657 therophytes (26.7%), 546 phanerophytes (22.2%), 378 hemicryptophytes (15.4%), 256 chamaephytes (10.4%), 160 geophytes (6.5%), 107 helophytes (4.3%), 104 hydrophytes (4.2%). A total of 252 taxa (10.2) may have different life forms (e.g. terophytes or chamaephytes).


Chad, Flora, Plant Diversity, Checklist


Plant diversity provides numerous essential services to society. These include material goods (for example, food, timber, medicines, and fiber), ecosystem functions (flood control, climate regulation, and nutrient cycling), and nonmaterial benefits such as recreation. Plant diversity contributes to agriculture (wild crops relatives) and forestry, provides carbon storage and sequestration (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005, Power 2010). Plant diversity and biodiversity in general also secure long-term flows of benefits from nature by providing resilience to disturbance and environmental change (Maestre et al. 2012). These and other economic and social contributions are substantial, with recent estimates claiming that the economic value of benefits from biodiverse natural ecosystems may be 10 to 100 times the cost of maintaining them (Rands et al. 2010).

The floristic inventory of a region or country is a very first basis, a necessary prerequisite for assessing plant diversity and for much fundamental research in botany and plant ecology, such as modeling patterns of species diversity or understanding species distribution and highlights key conservation issues.

The studies on the flora and vegetation in Chad started around the ‘50s with the relevant pioneer contributions of R. Corti, H. Gillet, R. Maire and P. Quézel. Although their great efforts and fundamental contributions posed the basis of the knowledge of flora and vegetation in Chad, botanical exploration has been not yet reasonably comprehensive, the more recent (partial) checklists and maps are mainly dated to the ‘70s (see references cited therein) and an updated flora, or even an updated country checklist are lacking. Botanical studies has been interrupted for a long period, also due to the civil war, with the result that the available base of knowledge is quite dated and limited to a few regions of the Country. As a result, Chad is one of the African countries whose flora and vegetation are less studied and known. Chad territory is greatly extended in latitude, several climatic zones and vegetation belts are found, along with very different peculiar habitats and land uses, and therefore significant biodiversity richness is to be reasonably expected.

According to Davis et al. (1986) and Stuart and Adams (1990), as cited in Keith and Plowes (1997), there are about 1, 600 species of vascular plants in Chad, of which 1, 516 occur south of about 16 N latitude. This is expected to be a very low number considering the land size and the diverse climatic conditions in Chad. The Tibesti Mountains are estimated to have about 450 species of plants, with a mix of Mediterranean, Saharan, Sahelian and afromontane elements (Davis et al. 1986). Lacking additional further studies, these figures (1, 600 species) were confirmed later in the comprehensive work of Frodin (2001) on standards Flora of the word and in several reviews on global plant diversity (e.g., Davis et al. 1994–1997, Groombndge and Jenkins 2002, Pitman and Jørgensen 2002).

During the years 1998-2011 the Department of Botany of the University of Sassari, in collaboration with the University of N’Djamena have investigated the flora and vegetation of Chad, with land surveys and literature and herbaria research and analysis (Camarda et al. 2004a, Camarda and Brundu 2005).

The present checklist of the Flora of Chad has been compiled as a first step to making more accessible the data collected and still unpublished, or already published but little known, in order to facilitate subsequent taxonomic work and further botanical research and biodiversity conservation planning. In fact, the literature is much dispersed and is often difficult to access because most of the papers are relatively old and/or were published in regional or national journals which are not readily available.

This paper is not a pure taxonomic work. Not all type materials have been studied and the authors of this paper can not give their opinion about the taxonomic correctness of all the recorded taxa.

Study area

Chad is a medium-size, land-locked African country, with low population (1, 284, 000 km2, more then 7 millions of habitants, density 4.9 habitants/km2, with more than 1 million people living in the capital). The Sahelian and Ennedi regions are mainly disabitated (0.1 habitants/km2) yet subject to unpredictable and variable pressure of nomads. Most of the population is concentrated in the Southern part of the Country, i.e. around lake Chad basin, Chari and Logone floodplains (54), and in the urban areas of N’Djamena, Bongor, Moundou and Sarh. Chad territory is greatly extended in latitude. Average annual rainfall decreases with increasing latitude, from 1, 150 mm at Moundou (08°30'N) to 902 mm at Am Timan (11°N), 582 mm at N’Djamena (12°N), 43 mm at Faya-Largeau (18°N) and no reliable rainfall further north (Scholte and Robertson 2001). It is important to note that a quite large proportion of the country in the north receives less then 100 mm of rainfall per year, and that 4 of the 5 main African climatic zones are present in Chad, notably hyper-arid (< 100 mm), arid (100–200 mm), semi-arid (200–400 mm), sub-humid dry (400–800) and sub-humid humid (800–1, 300 mm).

The dry season in the south extends from November to March and increases in duration northwards. Reflecting the decreasing south–north rainfall gradient, the vegetation of the country is divided latitudinally into three sub equal zones and a minor fourth in the southern part: the Saharan desert belt in the north (including the Saharomontane vegetation of Tibesti), the Sahelian belt covering the central third (Semi-desert grassland and thorny shrubland to wooded grassland and bushland, with Acacia spp., Commiphora africana, Balanites aegyptiaca, Euphorbiaceae, and abundant dryland taxa), Sudanian belt (woodland and dry forest, with Celtis integrifolia, Hymenocardia acida, Lannea spp., Prosopis africana, Mytragyna inermis) in the south and a minor area of Sudano-Guinean vegetation, as a mosaic of dry, peripheral, semi-evergreen rainforest and woodland or secondary grassland, regarded as transitional between the Sudanian and Guineo-Congolian vegetation (Pias 1970, Olago 2001). Land uses, land cover (Mayaux et al. 2004) and agro-ecological zones in Chad, as in the most of Western and Central Africa (Jalloh et al. 2012), are closely related to the above cited climatic zones.

The northern third of the country forms part of the Sahara desert and includes, on the border with Libya, the Tibesti massif which rises to 3, 415 m. This volcanic massif is the highest both in Chad and the Sahara. Tibesti covers an area of about 50, 000 km² and has an average altitude of over 2, 000 m. There are areas of Saharomontane vegetation on the massif which are floristically rich and unrelated to the vegetation of the surrounding lowlands (Maire and Monod 1950, Bruneau de Miré and Quézel 1961, Scholte and Robertson 2001) while woody vegetation occurs in some deep gorges. Situated south-east of Tibesti, on the Sudan border, is the Ennedi massif, which rises to 1, 450 m with sited of great environmental concern such as Guelta of Archei (Camarda et al. 2004b). The Sahelian belt occupies the middle third of the country. It is bounded in the west by the banks of Lake Chad, the fourth-largest lake in Africa (between 6° to 24°N and 8° to 24°E) and a trans-boundary Ramsar site of international importance. Approximately half of the lake lies within Chadian borders while the rest is shared between Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon. The portion of Lake Chad belonging to Chad is evaluated in 16, 481.7 km2 (COP8 2002). During the normal period, three types of landscapes are to be seen: the open waters with scarce aquatic vegetation (Nymphaea sp.), the reed-islands which are islands of vegetation (e.g. Cyperus papyrus, Phragmites australis, Aeschynomene and the archipelagoes consisting of about a thousand sandy islands corresponding to the dune crests of a settled, partly immerged Erg (Carmouze et al. 1983, Dupont 1970, Leveque 1983, Olivry et al. 1996). Lake Fitri, the country’s second largest wetland, has been called a miniature lake Chad. This Biosphere Reserve is a shallow lake and completely dried up in 1984-1985 after years of drought (Keith and Plowes 1997). The lake has a productive fishery that is important to the local economy and also a remarkable presence of water birds and interesting vegetation communities, typical of Sahelian wetlands.

On the opposite side of the country, on the Sudan border, and located to the south of the Ennedi massif, the Ouaddai massif rises to a maximum height of 1, 260 m. Much of the area between Lake Chad and the Ouaddai massif is, except for parts of the centre-west where there are large expanses of dunes fringed by xerophytic scrubland, a vast, relatively featureless plain (300–400 m) supporting Sahelian grasslands (Scholte and Robertson 2001). Much of this area is drained by the seasonal Batha river which originates from streams running westwards from the Ouaddai massif and which ultimately empties into the temporary wetlands around Lake Fitri (12°50’N, 17°30’E). Indeed, an area of 10 million ha in the transition zone between the southern Sahel and northern Sudan–Guinea is subject to regular seasonal inundation (Scholte and Robertson 2001). Other than the Guéra massif, situated in the centre-north, of which the highest peak reaches 1, 613 m, the area is mostly flat, lying mainly between 300 m and 400 m. The main rivers of this zone are the Chari and the Logone, which flow north-westwards and drain into Lake Chad.

The soils in the West-African region have been surveyed for several years by teams of African and European soil scientists. Charreau (1974) published the first most exhaustive soil classification for the Sub-Saharan Africa. The West-African soil map was made of 12 classes subdivided into sub-classes, groups and sub-groups, families, series and types of soil. The family was composed of soils originating from the same kind of parent material. The series related to the position of the soil on the toposequence and the types to the texture of the surface horizon. Sub-Saharan Africa was divided into five large zones (Charreau 1974, Fellera et al. 2008). According to the more recent classification of major soils types of Africa (Panagos et al. 2011) which follows the WRB system (World Reference Base for Soil Resources) the most common soils in Chad are Leptosols, Regosols and Arenosols in the central and northern regions, Fluvisols, Plinthosols, Planosols, Solonchaks, Vertisols in the southern part.

In Chad 83% of the working population is engaged in the production of crops and livestock, primarily for domestic consumption. Only 2% of the land is cultivated, but about 50% is grazed. Cereal grains are the main food crops, while beans, corn, rice, vegetables, dates are important in local areas. Cotton and peanuts are the primary cash crops (Arditi 1995, Keith and Plowes 1997, Pret 1993, Stuart and Adams 1990). The main sustenance crops are rain-fed, cultivated and harvested by hand, and growth without the use of fertilizers and other agrochemicals which are used on rice and cotton (Keith and Plowes 1997).

According to FAO/UNEP (1981) assessment, the total forest surface in Chad in 1980 was composed by 130, 000.0 km2 of open forest, 5, 000.0 km2 of closed forest (in the South), and 30.0 km2 of plantations (e.g. Azadirachta indica, Eucalyptus spp.). These estimates are part of the United Nations Global Environment Monitoring Systems (FAO, 1986). These values are only indicative, because there has not been any National inventory. More recently Tal (2001) reports differing estimated values, i.e. 3, 626, 000 ha of open forest, 211, 000 of closed forest, 9, 412, 000 ha formations with sparse trees, and 10, 192, 000 of “thickets” or “bushlands”. Plantations are planned to be increased to reach 10, 000 ha (FAO, 2001). This last estimates and classification systems seem a little more reliable. The Sahel is characterized by semi-desert grassland, thorn scrub and wooded grassland dominated by Acacia sp pl. (Wickens and White 1979, White 1983, Wickens 1984). Trees in and shrubs the Chadian Sahelian belt are important as sources of fuel and timber and are becoming, somewhat belatedly, recognized by foresters and administrators as important sources of such non-wood forest products as food, browse, medicines, fibre, etc. (Wickens 1991). Desertification is widespread throughout the Sahelian zone and there is no quick fix solution to what is an exceedingly complex ecological, geographical, sociological, political and economic problem (Wickens 1997).

The natural forest of Gam stretches over more than 5, 500 ha and it is indicated as the largest forest in Chad (Pelloux and Boykas 1997). Located in the south, it is threatened by the increasing demand for building materials, as a result of the growing urbanization around the main centers. The Assale forest is situated in the Sahelian-Sudanese transition area, around lake Chad, about 110 km North of N’Djamena (Boykas et al. 1997). The growing demand for fuelwood in the capital and the relatively recent arrival of the asphalt road, have aroused concern about the overexploitation of the forest. As in most of Africa, the tree resource base is deteriorating. Population growth is putting heavy pressure not only for fuelwood but also for livestock grazing and crops, and these affects are synergetic with climatic stocasticity. Thus there is a strong need to plan conservation of forest genetic resources both in situ and ex situ (Tal 1994) and set up management plan and education activities.

Land surveys

Ten main botanical field surveys and additional short visits and excursions, including boat surveys, have been done by the Authors in Chad in period 1998-2011. These land surveys aimed to explore the main protected areas of the Country, and most of the regions and sites of environmental concern [Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti (BET), Ounianga Kebir salt lakes, Faya, Fada, Guelta d’Archei, Kanem, Lake Fitri, Batha, Biltine, Ouaddai, Lake Chad, Chari river, Chari-Baguirmi, Guéra, Salamat, Zakouma National Park, Mayo-Kébbi and Logone flood plain], for more than 20, 000 km of tracks. The lack of a reliable road network severely limits the possibility to survey the whole Country. Chad is heavily reliant on its 32, 000 km road network for the transport of agricultural goods and for linking its widely-dispersed population. However, only around 300-km of the roads are paved, with the rest consisting of poorly-maintained earth or track. Severe flooding during the rainy season renders these roads impassable. During the botanical surveys remarkable sites or species presence and assemblages have been located by hand held GPS, and specimens collected for a dedicated herbarium.

Literature sources

All the available literature sources documenting presence and distribution of plant species in Chad have been analyzed and data extracted for the compilation of the present check-list (e.g. Audru 1966, Bruneau de Miré and Quézel 1961, Corti 1942, Gaston 1966, 1967, Gillet 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1969, Hutchinson and Dalziel 1954-1972, Lebrun and Gaston 1976, 1977, 1986, Lebrun et al. 1972, Maire and Monod 1950, Maley 1981, Mosmier 1963, Pias 1970, Quézel 1957, 1958a, 1958b, Scholz 1966).

As remarked in the introduction section, this paper is not a pure taxonomic work. Not all type materials have been studied and the authors of this paper can not give their opinion about the taxonomic correctness of all the recorded taxa. The main intention has been to bring together the country data in order to facilitate subsequent taxonomic work.

It has been assumed that if one plant is synonymised with another, then its distribution data can also be transferred. When names from the source lists have been synonymised, the original names under which taxa were published are included as synonyms and their distribution data (presence/absence for Chad) are shown under the current name. No distinction has been made between nomenclatural and taxonomic synonyms. Whenever available, specific studies have been taken into account, e.g. Romo and Boratyński (2011) for genus Luzula (Juncaceae), Anthelme et al. (2001) for Ferns in Sahara Mountains, Montes-Moreno et al. (2010) and Qaiser and Lack (1986) for the genus Phagnalon, Kaplan and Symoens (2005) for Potamogeton, Beier (2005) for Fagonia.

Herbarium data and on-line data-bases

Most of the specimens collected and studied by the botanists that performed botanical surveys in the past are actually not in Chad but spread elsewhere, e.g. in Algeria, and have not always been preserved, e.g. in Berlin-Dahlem the collection by Gustav Nachtigal, the first botanist that collected specimens in Chad, was destroyed during the 1943 war, as reported by Lebrun et al. 1972. Important herbaria housing numerous material from Chad are at Dakar (Herbier de l’Institut Français d’Afrique Noire, see Maire and Monod 1950), at Florence (samples collected by Monterin in 1934, were studied by Roberto Corti and stored in the Erbario dell’Università di Firenze, Italy, as reported by Corti 1942), at Maisons-Alfort (Institut d’Elevage et de Medicine Veterinarie des Pays Tropicaux, Maisons-Alfort, France, ALF, see Lebrun et al. 1972), at Paris (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle MNHN, Paris, e.g. see Gillet 1968), at Poznan, Poland (collection by Stanislaw Lisowski stored in the Laboratory and herbarium of tropical plants, A. Mickiewicz University, POZG), at Tripoli (Natural History Museum, collection by A. Desio, as reported by Corti 1942), at Kew (collection in the Southern Tibesti by Shaw, as reported by Corti 1942). Additional information on collection in Chad is also reported by Hepper and Neate 1971. Nevertheless, this geographic hindrance to visit different herbaria, is today somewhat reduced thanks to the availability of web pages, such as the one of MNHN of Paris or the ALUKA and JSTOR projects, and thanks to international projects of biodiversity data sharing such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF,

All these internet sources have been checked and they have been really useful for the purposes of the present research. For example, the GBIF biodiversity occurrence data published for Chad, was accessed through GBIF Data Portal on the 30th of November 2012 and downloaded. It is not new that internet resources enable and simplify taxonomic work and support filling gaps in biodiversity knowledge (e.g., see Smith and Figueiredo 2010).

The only herbarium exsiccata which are presently stored in Chad are those at the University of N’Djamena, collected by S. Lisowski and collaborators, and in Farcha (Laboratoire de Recherches Veterinaires et Zootechniques de Farcha, N’Djamena, Chad) housing about 8, 000 samples for a total number of about 1, 500 taxa (estimation done by Yosko et al. 2002), collected mainly by A. Gaston and collaborators (Yosko et al. 2002). Although they represent very important documentary resources, these two herbaria store samples coming only from a few regions of Chad and data is not available in digital form. The collections done by A. Melis, I. Camarda and G. Brundu (1998-2011 surveys) are stored at the University of Sassari, Department of Science for Nature and Environmental Resources (SS herbarium).

The data-base of the ALF herbarium is accessible through the dedicated portal. Accessing on the 30th of March 2012 we retrieved a total of 4, 191 records, i.e. herbarium samples collected in Chad ( and maintained by CIRAD France (Département d’Élevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire du CIRAD).

The WSCP on-line data-base (World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, published on the Internet; was retrieved on the 30th of March 2012, the Kew Grass-Base (Clayton, W.D., Vorontsova, M.S., Harman, K.T. and Williamson, H. - 2006 onwards. GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora. was accessed on the 30th of March 2012, the Catalogue of life (that includes records from the following databases Droseraceae Database, ELPT, GCC, ILDIS, IOPI-GPC and WCSP) was accessed on the 06th of August 2012, the African Plants Database (version 3.4.0, Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, was accessed on the 30th of March 2012.


The checklist follows the revised and updated classification of the flowering plants at the ranks of orders and families published by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG III 2009). Families are arranged according to the linear sequence LAPG III by Haston et al. (2009), while the paper by Chase and Reveal (2009) provides a classification scheme with an arrangement of the classes, subclasses, and superorders of extant land plants. The linear sequence of families and genera of ferns follows Christenhusz et al. (2011).

Plant names have been verified using IPNI (International Plant Name Index,, The Plant List (2010, version 1, published on the Internet;, WCSP and the African Plants Database (APD, version 3.4.0), updated by the Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève and the South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa (

The main synonyms, the literature source and other information (whenever available) have been stored in the database and are shown in the present checklist as a separate synonyms table. We have given, to our best attempt, the accepted and correct nomenclature according to current taxonomic standards.

Life forms

In his study on flora and vegetation of the Ennedi, Gillet (1968), using a modified classification system derived from Raunkiaer (1954), describes 7 main life forms for the 526 taxa recorded in the Ennedi (41.3% therophytes, 3.0% geophytes, 5.1 % helophytes, 1.1 % hydrophytes, 7.0% hemicryptophytes, 18.4% chamaephytes, 15.1 % phanerophytes) and 2 additional forms, i.e. parasites (0.9%) and plurisaisonnières (8.1%) plants, with the latter defined as annual or pluriannual species. These 9 life forms are divided into sub-forms, for a total of 56 types. There are of course limits to use the Raunkiaer system in tropical and subtropical regions (e.g. see Proches et al. 2005; Harrison et al. 2010). For example, it could be pointed out that some Chadian plants can be classified as belonging to several morphological types, e.g. geophytes and climbers [e.g. Kedrostis (Cucurbitaceae), Dioscorea (Dioscoreaceae) ], or geophytes and succulents, or to several life histories (Gillet 1968). When recording the life form we took into account the description from Gillet (1968), the paper from Poilecot (1999) for Poaceae and the African Plants Database for all the other taxa.

We have considered the following six categories for life-history: annual (A), perennial (P), biannual (B), annual or biannual (AB), annual or short-lived perennial (AS), and annual or perennial (AP). Life forms are recorded as follows: phanerophytes (P), chamaephytes (Ch), hemicryptophytes (H), geophytes (G), helophytes (He), hydrophytes (I).

Native vs. non-native status

The assessment of native versus introduced status is based on the information provided by the literature sources and on-line data-bases (e.g. APD). A preliminary assessment for 131 taxa was published by Brundu and Camarda (2004). Species of uncertain status are considered cryptogenic (Carlton, 1996).

Results and discussion

This checklist for Chad counts 2, 460 entities (hereafter records or taxa), i.e. 2288 species (including 128 autonyms), 83 subspecies, 81 varieties, 8 forms. They belong to 151 Families, with 48.7% of the taxa belonging to the 6 largest families, i.e. 359 taxa in the Poaceae (14.6%), 335 in the Fabaceae (13.6%), 173 in the Cyperaceae (7.0%), 153 (6.2%) in the Asteraceae, 95 in the Malvaceae (3.9%) and 84 in the Rubiaceae (3.4%).

As stated in the introduction, the previous available information on the Flora of Chad reported a number of 1, 600 entities (without a clear distinction between the number of species and subspecific entities). Actually the 4 main contributions for southern Chad account in the present checklist for 1, 638 records, as follows: 1, 520 reported by Lebrun et al. (1972), 57, 20, 41 reported, respectively by Lebrun and Gaston in their 3 additions to the original list (Lebrun and Gaston 1976, 1977, 1986). We include in the list also 121 records for the Tibesti from the work of Corti (1942), 374 recorded by Maire and Monod (1950), 136 by Scholz (1966), 539 records for the Ennedi from the work of Gillet (1968). The other records in the checklist derive therefore from GBIF information, from the other literature sources cited in the methods section, from the authors’ personal observations and from personal communications received for Zakouma National park from P. Poilecot.

A total number or 2, 173 taxa (88.3%) are native to Chad, including 55 (2.2%) endemics, while 274 (11.0%) are alien to Chad, and 13 (0.5%) are considered cryptogenic, i.e. of uncertain status. This represents a considerable updated of the previous knowledge on the alien flora of Chad that counted for 131 taxa (5.3%) Brundu and Camarda (2004).

The majority of taxa in the checklist are perennials (1388, 56.4%), annuals account for 772 taxa (31.4%) and there are 300 taxa (12.2%) with other types of life histories (biannual, annual or biannual, annual or short-lived perennial and annual or perennial).

There are 657 therophytes (26.7%), 546 phanerophytes (22.2%), 378 hemicryptophytes (15.4%), 256 chamaephytes (10.4%), 160 geophytes (6.5%), 107 helophytes (4.3%), 104 hydrophytes (4.2%). A total of 252 taxa (10.2%) may have different life forms (e.g. terophytes or chamaephytes) and, in the past, were considered as plurisaisonnières by Gillet (1968). This author indicated 43 taxa of this type for the Ennedi.

Assessing biodiversity and understanding mechanisms of its changes are difficult in many areas of Africa because data are incomplete or lacking. Conserving biodiversity in Chad is challenging for several reasons including incomplete knowledge, differing and incomplete conceptual models of main ecological processes, major gaps in ecological and management knowledge, high variability in ecological responses to climate, altered vegetation regimes as a result of land-use history and climate change, and the increasing encroachment of open forest landscapes and several habitats by humans.

We hopefully expect that our checklist would refuel botanical researches in Chad and constitute a reliable basis for the necessary further studies and nature conservation planning.


The Authors wish to grateful acknowledge the Chadian administrative and political Authorities, the Authorities of the University of N’Djamena, with special concern to Abba Danna and the personnel of the Institut National des Sciences Humaines, the Italian Consul in Chad Ermanna Favaretto, the local guides and drivers, and all the other Chadian people that have kindly supported the surveys in the country and/or provided useful information and advices. We also acknowledge F. Medail (Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie, Aix-en-Provence, France) and J. Cesar (CIRAD, France) for providing useful information and literatures, P. Poilecot (CIRAD, France) for providing a list of species for Zakouma National Park, J. Wiland-Szymanska (A. Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland) for facilitating the access to herbarium data, Norbert Kilian (Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem) for providing access to useful papers and information. We also acknowledge Patricia Mergen, Garin Cael, Theeten Franck, Mergen Jacob Boris of the Biodiversity Information and Cybertaxonomy unit of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Leuven and Piet Stoffelen, National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Meise, for fruitful suggestions on the data-base.

The Sardinian Regional Authority has provided funding to support the project according to the regional law no. 19/1996 (Regione Autonoma della Sardegna, Legge Regionale 11.04.1996, n. 19 Norme in materia di cooperazione con i Paesi in via di sviluppo e di collaborazione internazionale). Four anonymous reviewers, Roy Gereau and Sandra Knapp provided very useful comments that greatly helped to improve the paper. This paper is dedicated to the memory of our unforgettable colleague and friend Mahamat Moutkar Djbrine who supported and facilitated our work in Chad for several years and passed away in 2011.

African Plants Database (version 3.4.0)Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. [accessed December 2012]
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III [Bremer B, Bremer K, Chase MW, Fay MF, Reveal JL, Soltis DE, Soltis PS, Stevens PF (comp.) ] (2009) An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society of London 161: 105-121.
Anthelme F, Abdoulkader A, Viane R (2011) Are ferns in arid environments underestimated? Contribution from the Saharan Mountains. Journal of Arid Environments 75 (6): 516-523. doi: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2011.01.009
Arditi C (1995) Le commerce des dattes du Borkou (Tchad). Cah. Sci. Hum. 31 (4): 849-882.
Audru J (1966) Ensemble pastoraux ou Logone et du Moyen Chari (Tchad). Institut d’Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux (IEMVPT), Maisons-Alfort, 1–210.
Beier B-A (2005) A revision of the desert shrub Fagonia (Zygophyllaceae). Systematics and Biodiversity 3 (3): 221-263. doi: 10.1017/S1477200005001684
Boykas M, Agala A, Pelleoux C (1997) Development of the forest stand in Assale (Chad). XI World Forestry Congress, Antalya, Turkey, Voluntary paper. Available at: <–3.htm>.
Brundu G, Camarda I (2004) The exotic flora of Chad: a first contribution. Weed Technology 18: 1226-1231. doi: 10.1614/0890-037X(2004)018[1226:TEFOCA]2.0.CO;2
Bruneau de Miré P, Quézel P (1961) Remarques taxonomiques et biogéographiques sur la flore des montagnes de la lisière méridionale du Sahara et plus spécialement du Tibesti et du Djebel Marra. Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 8 (4–5) ): 110-135.
Camarda I, Brundu G (2005) Esplorazioni botaniche in Ciad. Informatore Botanico Italiano 37 (1a): 316–317.
Carlton JT (1996) Biological invasions and cryptogenic species. Ecology 77 (6): 1653-1655. doi: 10.2307/2265767
Camarda I, Brundu G, Dijbrine MM (2004a) Basic considerations on nature conservation and plant diversity in Chad. In: Camarda I, Manfredo MJ, Mulas F, Teel T (Eds) Global Challenges of Parks and Protected Area Management, Proceedings 9th ISSRM, 10–13 October, 2002, La Maddalena, Carlo Delfino Editore, Sassari, Italy, 125–139.
Camarda I, Brundu G, Moravetti A, Dijbrine MM (2004b) The Archei site, a project proposal for a new World Heritage Site in Chad. In: Camarda I, Manfredo MJ, Mulas F, Teel TL (Eds) Global Challenges of Parks and Protected Area Management, Proceedings 9th ISSRM, 10–13 October, 2002, La Maddalena, Carlo Delfino Editore, Sassari, Italy, 111–123.
Carmouze JP, Durand JR, Lévèque C (1983) Lake Chad. Ecology and Productivity of a Shallow Tropical Ecosystem. Monog. Biol., 53. Junk, The Hague, 1–575.
Charreau C (1974) Soils of tropical dry and dry-wet climatic areas and their use and management: a series of lectures (spring semester). Cornell University. Ithaca, NY, USA.
Chase MW, Reveal JL (2009) A phylogenetic classification of the land plants to accompany APG III. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society of London 161: 122-127.
Christenhusz MJM, Zhang X-C, Schneider H (2011) A linear sequence of extant families and genera of lycophytes and ferns. Phytotaxa 19: 7-54.
COP8 (2002) Wetlands: water, life and culture. 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971). Valencia, Spain, 18–26 November, 2002.
Corti R (1942) Le conoscenze botaniche sul Tibesti settentrionale. In: Desio A, (Ed) Il Sahara italiano. Il Tibesti Nord orientale. Reale Società Geografica Italiana. Società Italiana di Arti Grafiche, Roma, Italy, 201–215.
Davis SD, Droop SJM, Gregersoh P, Henson L, Leon CJ, Villa-Lobos JL, Synge H, Zantovska J (1986) Plants in danger - what do we know? IUCN. Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, U.K., 1–461.
Davis SD, Heywood VH, Herrera-MacBryde O, Villa-Lobos J, Hamilton AC (Eds) (1994–1997) Centres of Plant Diversity: A Guide and Strategy for Their Conservation. Vol. 1–3, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
De Miré B, Quézel P (1961) Remarques taxonomiques et biogéographiques sur la flore des montagnes de la lisière méridionale du Sahara et plus speécialment du Tibesti et du Djbel Marra. Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 7 (4–5): 110–133..
Dupont B (1970) Distribution et nature des fonds du lac Tchad (nouvelles données). Cah. ORSTOM, sér. Géol. 2 (1): 9-42.
FAO (1986) Natural resources and the human environment for food and agriculture in Africa. FAO Environment and Energy Paper, no. 6. FAO, Rome.
FAO (2001) L’évaluation mondial des forêt. Rapport principal. FAO, Rome.
FAO-UNEP (1981) Tropical Forest Resources Assessment Project (GEMS). Forest Resources of Tropical Africa. Part. I: Regional Synthesis, FAO, Rome.
Fellera C, Blancharta E, Herbillon A (2008) The Importance of French Tropical Research in the Development of Pedology. Soil Sci Soc Am J 72: 1375-1381. doi: 10.2136/sssaj2007.0200
Frodin DG (2001) Guide to Standards Flora of the Word. II Edition. Cambridge University Press, 1–1100.
Gaston A (1966) Étude agrostologique du Kanem (Rép. du Tchad). Institut d’Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux (IEMVPT) Étud. Agrost. 19: 1-177.
Gaston A (1967) Étude agrostologique des pâturages de la zone de transhumance de I’Ouaddi-Haddad (Rép. du Tchad). Institut d’Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux (IEMVPT) Étud. Agrost. 20: 1-64.
Gillet H (1959) Une mission scientifique dans l’Ennedi (Nord-Tchad) et en Oubangui. Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 11 (6): 505-573.
Gillet H (1960) Catalogue raisonné et commenté des plantes de l’Ennedi (Tchad). Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 1 (6): 1-158.
Gillet H (1961) Compte rendu d’une mission sur un emplacement proposé pour le ranch du Kanem. Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 8: 303-337.
Gillet H (1962) Agriculture, végétation et sol du centre Tchad. Feuilles de Mongo, Melfi, Bokoro, Guera. ORSTOM, Centre de recherches tchadienne, section de pédologie, Fort Lamy, 1–51.
Gillet H (1963) Végétation, agriculture et sol du centre Tchad. Feuille de Miltou, Dagela, Koumura, Moussafoyo. Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 10: 53–160.
Gillet H (1968) Le Peuplement végétal du massif de l’Ennedi (Tchad). Mémoires du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, n.s. , série B 17: 1-206.
Gillet H (1969) La végétation du parc national de Zakouma (Tchad) et ses rapports avec les grands mammifères. Terre et la Vie 116: 373-485.
Groombndge B, Jenkins MD (2002) World Atlas of Biodiversity. Prepared by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. University of California Press, Berkeley, USA, 1–340.
Harrison SP, Prentice IC, Barboni D, Kohfeld KE, Ni J, Sutra J-P (2010) Ecophysiological and bioclimatic foundations for a global plant functional classification. Journal of Vegetation Science 21: 300-317. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2009.01144.x
Haston E, Richardson JE, Stevens PF, Chase MW, Harris DJ (2009) The Linear Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (LAPG) III: a linear sequence of the families in APG III. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161: 128-131. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.01000.x
Hepper FN, Neate F (1971) Plant collectors in West Africa: a biographical index of those who have collected herbarium material of flowering plants and ferns between Cape Verde and Lake Chad, and from the coast to the Sahara at 18° N. Regnum Veg., 74.
Hutchinson J. Dalziel JM (1954–1972) . Flora of West Tropical Africa. 3 vols. + 1 fasc. [éd. 2, reviewed by Keay RWJ (vol. 1) and by Hepper EN other vols], London.
Jalloh A, Roy-Macauleyb H, Sereme P (2012) Major agro-ecosystems of West and Central Africa: Brief description, species richness, management, environmental limitations and concerns. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 157(2012)5–16. doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2011.11.019
Kaplan Z, Symoens J-J (2005) Taxonomy, distribution and nomenclature of three confused broad-leaved Potamogeton species occurring in Africa and on surrounding islands. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 148: 329-357. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2005.00410.x
Keith JO, Plowes DCH (1997) Considerations of Wildlife Resources and Land Use in Chad. SD Technical Paper No. 45, U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington D.C., 1–29. [Available at]
Koechlin J (1955) Rapport de mission botanique dans le territoire du Tchad. Novembre - Décembre 1955. Bulletin Institut d’Etudes Centrafricanes, Nouvelle Série, Brazzaville, 12: 133-199.
Lebrun JP, Audrun J, Gaston A, Mosnier M (1972) Catalogue de Plantes vasculaires du Tchad Méridional. I Vol. min., I.E.M.V.P.T., Maison-Alfort, 287 pp.
Lebrun JP, Gaston A (1976) Premier supplément au “Catalogue de Plantes vasculaires du Tchad Méridional”. Adansonia, ser. 2, 15 (3): 381–390.
Lebrun JP, Gaston A (1977) Second supplément au “Catalogue de Plantes vasculaires du Tchad Méridional”. Cairo University Herbarium, No. 7–8: 109–114.
Lebrun JP, Gaston A (1986) Troisième supplément au “Catalogue de Plantes vasculaires du Tchad Méridional”. Bull. Soc. Bot. Fr. 133, Lettres bot. 4–5: 387–392.
Leveque C (1982) Ecology of Lake Chad. A tropical shallow lake (Africa). Proceedings of the International Scientific Workshop on: Ecosystem Dynamics in Freshwater Wetlands and Shallow Water Bodies, vol I., 12–26 July, 1981, Moscow. SCOPE, UNEP, GKNT, 163–187.
Maestre FT, Quero JL, Gotelli NJ, Escudero A, Ochoa V, Delgado-Baquerizo M, García-Gómez M, Bowker MA, Soliveres S, Escolar C, García-Palacios P, Miguel Berdugo M, Valencia E, Gozalo B, Gallardo A, Lorgio Aguilera L, Arredondo T, Blones J, Boeken B, Bran D, Conceição AA, Cabrera O, Chaieb M, Derak M, Eldridge DJ, Espinosa CI, Fiorentino A, Gaitán J, Gatica MG, Ghiloufi W, Gómez-González S, Gutiérrez JR, Hernández RM, Huang X, Huber-Sannwald E, Jankju M, Miriti M, Monerris J, Mau RL, Morici E, Nastri K, Ospina A, Polo V, Prina A, Pucheta E, Ramírez-Collantes DA, Romão R, Tighe M, Torres-Díaz C, Val J, Veiga JP, Wang D, Zaady E (2012) Plant Species Richness and Ecosystem Multifunctionality in Global Drylands. Science 335: 214-218. doi: 10.1126/science.1215442
Maire R (1935) Contribution a l’étude de la flore du Tibesti. In: Dalloni M. Mission au Tibesti (1930–1931) dirigée par M. Dalloni professeur a la faculté des sciences d’Alger. II, 1–39. Algeri.
Maire R, Monod T (1950) Études sur la flore et la végétation du Tibesti. Mémoires de l’Institut Français d’Afrique Noire 8: 1-140.
Maley J (1981) Études palynologiques dans le bassin du Tchad et paléoclimatologie de l’Afrique nord-tropicale de 30000 ans à l’époque actuelle. Travaux et Documents De l’O.R.S.T.0.M., no. 129, 1–586.
Mayaux P, Bartholomé E, Fritz S, Belward A (2004) A new land-cover map of Africa for the year 2000. Journal of Biogeography 31: 861-877. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2004.01073.x
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Condition and Trends Working Group, Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Current State and Trends (Island, Washington, DC, 2005).
Montes-Moreno N, Sáez L, Benedí C, Susanna A, Garcia-Jacas N (2010) Generic delineation, phylogeny and subtribal affinities of Phagnalon and Aliella (Compositae, Gnaphalieae) based on nuclear and chloroplast sequences. Taxon 59 (6): 1654-1670.
Mosmier M (1963) Étude agrostologique des fermes du service de l’agriculture de la République du Tchad. I.E.M.V.P.T., Étud. Agrost., no 4.
Olago DO (2001) Vegetation changes over palaeo-time scales in Africa. Climate Research 17: 105–121. doi: 10.3354/cr017105
Olivry JC, Chouret A, Vuillaume G, Lemoalle J, Bricquet J-P (1996) Hydrologie du lac Tchad. Monographie hydrologique no. 12. ORSTOM, Paris, 1–266.
Panagos P, Jones A, Bosco C, Senthil Kumar PS (2011) European digital archive on soil maps (EuDASM): preserving important soil data for public free access. International Journal of Digital Earth 4 (5): 434-443. doi: 10.1080/17538947.2011.596580
Pelloux C, Boykas M (1997) Aménagement de la forêt de Gam (Tchad). XI World Forestry Congress, Antalya, Turkey, Voluntary paper, 1–8.
Pias J (1970) La végétation du Tchad. Ses rapports avec les sols. Variations paléobotaniques au Quaternaire. Travaux et Documents de l’ORSTOM 6, 1–47.
Pitman NCA, Jørgensen PM (2002) Estimating the Size of the World’s Threatened Flora, Science 298, 989. doi: 10.1126/science.298.5595.989
Poilecot P (1999) Les Poaceae du Niger. Boissiera, Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques, Geneva, 59: 1-766.
Poilecot P, Saidi S, N’Gakoutou EB (2009) Phytogéographie du Parc National de Zakouma (Sud-Est du Tchad). Sécheresse 20 (3): 286-295.
Power E (2010) Ecosystem services and agriculture: tradeoffs and synergies. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 365: 2959-2971. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0143
Pret PF (1993) Les palmeraies du Borkou. Travaux et Documents Scientifiques du Tchad. Connaissance du Tchad 3: 1-100.
Proches S, Cowling RM, Goldblatt P, Manning Jc, Snijman Da (2005) An overview of the Cape geophytes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 87: 27-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2006.00557.x
Qaiser M, Lack HW (1986) The genus Phagnalon (Asteraceae, Inuleae) in Tropical Africa. Willdenowia 15 (2): 437-450.
Quézel P (1956) Plantes recueillies dans le massif de l’Ennedi par M. Dalloni. Travaux de l’Institut de Recherches Sahariennes 14: 197-199.
Quézel P (1957) Plantes nouvelles du Tibesti. Bull. de la Société d’Histoire Naturelle de l’Afrique du Nord 48 (1): 82-104.
Quézel P (1958a) Mission Botanique au Tibesti. Institut de Recherches Sahariennes, Université d’Alger, Algiers.
Quézel P (1958b) La végétation de la zone nord-occidentale du Tibesti. Travaux de l’Institut de Recherches Sahariennes 4: 75-107.
Rands MRW, Adams WM, Bennun L, Butchart SHM, Clements A, Coomes D, Entwistle A, Hodge I, Kapos V, Scharlemann JPW, Sutherland WJ, Vira B (2010) Biodiversity Conservation: Challenges Beyond 2010. Science 329: 1298-1303. doi: 10.1126/science.1189138
Raunkiaer C (1954) The life forms of plants and statistical geography. Oxford XVI, 1–632.
Romo A, Boratyński A (2011) The section Atlanticae of the genus Luzula (Juncaceae). Collectanea Botanica 30: 53-58. doi: 10.3989/collectbot.2011.v30.005
Scholte P, Robertson P (2001) Chad. In: Fishpool LDC, Evans MI (Eds). Important Bird Areas in Africa and associated islands: Priority sites for conservation. Newbury and Cambridge, UK: Pisces Publications and BirdLife International, BirdLife Conservation Series No. 11: 177-184.
Scholz H (1966) Beitrag zur Flora des Tibesti-Gebirges (Tschad). Willdenowia 4: 183-202.
Smith GF, Figueiredo E (2010) E-taxonomy: an affordable tool to fill the biodiversity knowledge gap. Biodivers Conserv 19: 829-836. doi: 10.1007/s10531-009-9738-8
Stuart SN, Adams RJ (1990) Biodiversity in Sub-Saharan Africa and its islands. Conservation, Management, and sustainable use. Occasional Papers of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 6, Gland, Switzerland, 1–242.
Tal M (1994) Atelier Régional sur la Conservation in-situ des ressources génétique des espèces ligneuses en zones arides et semi-arides. Rapport national du Tchad. IPGRI, FAO.
White F (1983) The Vegetation of Africa. A descriptive memoir to accompany the Unesco/AETFAT/UNSO vegetation map of Africa. Paris: UNESCO, 1–356.
Wickens GE (1984) Flora. In: Cloudsley-Thompson JL (Ed). Sahara Desert. Key environments. Oxford, New York, Toronto, Sydney, Paris, Frankfurt: Pergamon Press: 67-75.
Wickens GE (1991) Non-wood Forest Products: the way ahead. FAO Forestry Paper 97. Rome, FAO, 1–37.
Wickens GE (1997) Has the Sahel a future?. Journal of Arid Environments 37: 649-663. doi: 10.1006/jare.1997.0303
Wickens GE, White LP (1979) Land-use in the southern margins of the Sahara. In: Walker BH (Ed). Management of Semi-arid Ecosystems. Developments in Agricultural and Managed-Forest Ecology 7. Amsterdam, Oxford, New York: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co.: 205-242. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-41759-6.50011-6
Yosko I, Dassering O, Cesar J (2002) Les recherches sur les interactions elevage-environnement au laboratoire de Farcha. L.R.V.Z.F., N’Djamena, 1–8.
Appendix I

Checklist of accepted names. (doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.23.4752.app1) File format: Compressed Archive (.rar).

Explanation note: The checklist table is composed by 35 columns and 2460 rows (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). A description of the content of each column is provided in an additional file (Microsoft Word document).

Appendix II

Accepted names and synonyms. (doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.23.4752.app2) File format: Microsoft Excel documents (xls).

Explanation note: The synonym table is a complement to the checklist and it is composed by 7 columns and 16, 750 rows (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). A description of the content of each column is provided in an additional file (Microsoft Word document).