The hyperdominant palm Euterpe precatoria—the most common tree in the Amazon—photographed in Bolivia.
Photo by Robin Foster.
The term hyperdominant was coined to describe the 227 tree species that are so common that together they account for half of all trees in the 6 million km2 of forest covering the
Amazon Basin and the Guiana Shield. This conclusion was based on an analysis of the largest dataset ever compiled of Amazonian forest inventories—more than 1,300
individual tree plots established between 1934 and 2011, several of them by Field Museum botanists.
The links above also serve lists and images of species that are hyperdominant within particular regions or
forest types of the Amazon (i.e., that account for more than half of all trees there). For example, 19 tree species account for most trees in Amazonian swamps,
and 75 species account for most trees in eastern Amazonia (see Figs. 1 and 4 of ter Steege et al. 2013).
All live plant photographs shown on this webpage are part of a database curated by Robin Foster and
searchable here. All herbarium specimens shown
on this webpage are deposited in the Searle Herbarium of the Field Museum.
They were originally scanned from a synoptic collection of Neotropical plants known as the Rapid Reference Collection, curated by Robin Foster, Nancy Hensold, Tyana Wachter,
and many other collaborators.
Scanned specimen images of the other 27,000 species represented in the Neotropical Herbarium Specimen database can be searched
This webpage was constructed by Pete Herbst and Nancy Hensold. Please send any comments or changes to Nancy Hensold,
Corine Vriesendorp, or Nigel Pitman.
Visitors may notice some slight nomenclatural variation between the species names in the appendices of ter Steege et al. (2013) and those listed
on this webpage. For an explanation of those differences, please contact Nigel Pitman.
ter Steege, H. et al. 2013. Hyper-dominance in the Amazonian tree flora. Science 342, 1243092. DOI: 10.1126/science.1243092