A short survey of the vegetation of neo- and paleo-tropical rock outcrops (inselbergs) is provided. The data are based on field studies in West Africa (Ivory Coast, Guinea, Cameroon), East Africa (Malawi), Madagascar, Brazil, Venezuela and French Guyana. The insular rock habitats are covered by a highly adapted flora differing almost totally from the surrounding vegetation and thus provide models for studying questions of island ecology. Apparently nude rock surfaces are usually covered almost completely by cyanobacteria (e.g. French Guyana) or lichens (e.g. Ivory Coast). The fragmented angiosperm vegetation consists of a mosaic of different vegetation types. Characteristic are monocotyledonous mats (Bromeliaceae in the neotropics and Cyperaceae in the paleotropics), flush vegetation (many Utricularia spp., Genlisea spp., Burmannia spp., Eriocaulaceae) and seasonal plant communities in rock pools (e.g. Scropholariaceae). Phenotypic similar life forms occur convergently in the paleo- and neotropics (e.g. caulescent rosette trees in Cyperaceae, Velloziaceae).
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