Endemic species found on St. Martin, Saba and St. Eustatius
Since the publication of a checklist of Lesser Antilles’ orchids not far of twenty years ago, the orchid family has been the subject of many studies and publications, including extensive taxonomic revisions, thanks to the use of molecular tools and to the improvement of data availability through Internet (virtual herbariums on line). The knowledge of his family and on its distribution has been largely improved. The analysis of these new data and of in situ intensive prospections has given a number of 138 species recorded in the Lesser Antilles (in March 2012), 130 of them being native. This apparently stable number compared to the 1993’s checklist comes from the suppression of some species and the addition of others. It is also a consequence of taxonomic changes for around one third of the taxa. Guadeloupe remains the richest island with 103 recorded species, followed by Dominica, with 90 species and Martinique with 80 species. Examination of all the types specimen on one island’s endemics does not support the endemism level sometimes described. There are only 5 true one-island endemic species, 3 to Guadeloupe (Basse Terre), one to Dominica and one to Montserrat. The rate of endemism in the Lesser Antilles is 16%, and 27% of the Lesser Antillean orchids are endemics to the West Indies.