Tree fern (Cyathea manniana)

The plant list for Atewa Forest comprises 1345 species which is approximately 25% of the entire known flora of Ghana (Hackman 2014). This is almost twice the number reported by McCullough et al (2007). The large increase is largely due to the inclusion of specimen data from herbaria in collections in Ghana and around the world, and the results of a recent field survey of non-vascular plants. Records indicate that 1214 of these species were found inside the boundaries of the forest reserve or within 500m of the boundary, and a further 131 species were recorded in the surrounding landscape, beyond 500m from the boundary.

Only a small number of these plants have been assessed according to IUCN’s extinction threat criteria (112 species). Priority for these assessments has been given to species considered likely to be threatened or at risk in some way so they are not a representative sample of all plants. Therefore it is hard to draw strong conclusions from the seemingly high proportion (52%) of assessed species that are considered threatened.

One recently described plant named after the forest, Monanothaxis atewensis, has been found in no other forest so is presumed to be entirely endemic to Atewa Forest. The specimens of this plant that held in the Ghana Herbarium were collected in 1967 but not recognized as a distinct species until 2017 (Hoekstra et al 2017).