Abstract This study reports a comparative analysis of trees used in public squares located in Brazilian cities where the Atlantic Forest is present. This overview uses databases including SciVerse Scopus, Web of Science, Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), and Google Scholar using the following descriptors: “vegetation” AND “public square” AND “qualitative analysis” AND “Atlantic forest.” Each species had its origin investigated: originating species from the Brazilian biomes (native) or species not belonging to the Brazilian biomes (exotic). The Kruskal-Wallis test did not show significant differences between the numbers of species or individuals considering their origins (native or exotic) in the analyzed public squares. More than 15 % of the species are endemic to the Atlantic Forest including Clusia fluminensis Planch and Triana, Dalbergia nigra (Bojer ex Hook.) Raf., Jacaranda micrantha Cham. Licania tomentosa (Benth.) Fritsch, and others. Four threatened species were found: Araucaria angustifolia (Bertol.) Kuntze, Cariniana legalis (Mart.) Kuntz, Dicksonia sellowiana Hook, and Ocotea odorifera (Vell.) Rohwer. Floristic similarities between surveys were generally low, but it was relatively high between the geographic surveys nearby suggesting a distribution influenced by the combination of ecology, occupation history, and local culture. Replication of new studies in public areas of the Atlantic Forest is recommended to broaden the knowledge base on vegetation. These studies can identify species that best represent biological and cultural diversity while prioritizing the use of native plants. Exotic (naturalized) trees can also be used as long as they contribute to local biodiversity.

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