Is the herb-shrub composition of veredas (Brazilian palm swamps) distinguishable?
ABSTRACT Vereda (Brazilian palm swamp) is a poorly known savannic phytophysiognomy that occurs on moist soils with high herb-shrub floristic richness. This study aimed to document the herb-shrub species of veredas of the Estação Ecológica Serra Geral do Tocantins - EESGTO, and compare this flora with other veredas in Brazil. Furthermore, we assessed the similarity of the herb-shrub ﬂora of the studied veredas with that of inventories of other savannas and grasslands in order to evaluate whether veredas possess an exclusive flora. Ordination analysis was performed to understand the floristic relationship among these areas. We recorded 213 species, 105 genera and 49 families at EESGTO, including five new floral records for the Cerrado and 78 for the state of Tocantins. The floristic similarity among veredas at EESGTO and the other sites was low. For all sites, a total of 1,324 species were recorded, of which 342 were unique to veredas and 187 unique to moist grasslands (campos limpos úmidos). After reviewing databases, 14.3 % of these species remained exclusive to veredas and moist grasslands. The ordination analysis indicated a gradient in floristic composition from wet to dry phytophysiognomies. In conclusion, we recognize a flora that distinguishes veredas from other Cerrado phytophysiognomies.