Mexico has an exceptionally rich and complex ecosystem, resulting in the country containing one of the largest varieties of plants in the world. About six families make up roughly 40 percent of Mexico’s plants, notes the Viva Natura website. There’s everything from desert plants in the northern and central regions to tropical rain forests plants in southern Mexico. Besides being diverse, Mexico is also known for its colorful plants that create great color schemes for gardens.
Mexico is noted for its large amount of endemic plants, which are plants unique to a particular area. According to Viva Natura, about 12 percent of the plant genera of the world are restricted to Mexico. This country has about 20,000 to 30,000 plant species, with 10,000 to 15,000 probably living only there.
Plant biodiversity within Mexico is not evenly distributed. Those states with the highest concentration of plant species include Oaxca, Chiapas and Veracruz. Considerably lower numbers of species are found in Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatan, which make up the Yucatan Peninsula. The plant families Compositae and Cactaceae are mostly in the northern and central sections of Mexico, while the Rubiaceae and Orchidaceae plant families are more diverse in southern Mexico. Plants from the Leguminosae family are more plentiful in warmer regions of the country.
Mexico is world’s center for diversity in cacti, according to Mexconnect.com. The cactus family (Cactaceae) is made up of over 1,000 different species. Prickly pear cacti can grow 10 feet tall or more, notes the Back Yard Nature website. The Adder’s-tongue is known for its unique appearance and for having the most chromosomes on any known living organism on earth. Mexican sycamore trees, native to central and northeastern Mexico, grow fast and can tolerate droughts, notes AustinTreeeExperts.com. They’re generally pest and disease resistant. These trees are found from the southern tip of the country through the northern regions. Passionflowers are climbing vines that have three-lobed foliage, yellow or orange fruit and purple flowers.
Mexican plants, such as succulents, have the advantage of going for long time periods without water. Succulent and cacti plants store water in their thick, stout leaves, so they need little attention. These plants can be ideal houseplants that produce colorful flowers, says the University of Rhode Island. Mexican plants have long been known for their medicinal value. According to the Herbal Safety website, the country has between 3,000 and 5,000 plants with potential medical benefits.
The Mexican petunia, although it can serve as a colorful groundcover, is a highly invasive plant, according to the University of Florida. It’s a perennial that grows up to 3 feet tall and has dark green, lance-shaped leaves. The plant’s flowers, which are trumpet-shaped, are borne separately and are a metallic purple or blue when seen under full sun. Mexican petunias do well in a wide range of environments.