The Hengduan Mountains, located east of the Himalayan range, form a dramatic series of north-south trending valleys and ridges extending from 1000 to over 7000 meters in elevation. This region and the surrounding area may contain as much as 40% of China's plant diversity, and is especially rich in endemic species. Several groups are extraordinarily diverse in the region, including Rhododendron, Saussurea, Cremanthodium, Gentiana, and Primula. For these reasons, and owing to ecological pressures imposed by human activity, this region is considered one of 24 biodiversity hotspots worldwide, and one of only three in the north temperate zone. Our recent NSF-sponsored (DEB-9705795) expeditions to the Hengduan region have yielded over seven thousand collections of macrofungi, bryophytes, and vascular plants. A database of information on these specimens, including elevation and GPS-based coordinate data, habitat information, field observations, images, and tissue available for DNA and anatomical analyses, is now available via the Harvard University Herbaria web site ( Specimens collected on these expeditions have enabled detailed study of several groups that are particularly diverse in this region, including discomycete fungi, Dipsacales, Brassicaceae, Corydalis, and Pedicularis.

Key words: biodiversity, bryophytes, China, fungi, plants