Plants

A new species of the chocolate family discovered roadside in New Guinea

A new species of the chocolate family discovered roadside in New Guinea

New Species, Plants November 30, 2017 at 11:02 am

Martin Cheek of Kew Gardens describes a recent research trip to New Guinea, where a team of Kew scientists stumbled upon a new species on the roadside.  It is a new species of Seringia (recent revision includes Keraudrenia), a species of the chocolate family (Byttneriaceae or Malvaceae-Byttnerioideae), and the first record of the genus from both New Guinea and South-East Asia.

New species of Spinifex tastes like ‘Salt and vinegar chips’.  7 other new species described.

New species of Spinifex tastes like ‘Salt and vinegar chips’. 7 other new species described.

New Species, Plants, Species Discovery November 27, 2017 at 10:23 am

West Australian researchers have found and identified eight new species of spinifex, including one they say has the flavour of salt and vinegar-flavoured chips.  “We were doing late night experiments … handling specimens of that species,” Dr Barrett said. “Someone licked their hand at some point and tasted that flavour.”  The native grass is farmed commercially in Queensland to manufacture the world’s strongest, thinnest condoms.  The Triodia genus includes about 120 species.

A new flower endemic to Istanbul

A new flower endemic to Istanbul

New Species, Plants November 22, 2017 at 10:52 am

A new endemic species of a flower was discovered in Istanbul.  Scientists found a species that belonged to the Allium genus, but at the same time did not resemble any known kind of the genus.  The newly discovered flower was named ‘Istanbul onion’ (Istanbul soğanı) as its common name.  With the Istanbul onion, the number of plant species endemic to Istanbul has risen to 54.

A new banana from Andaman Island, India

A new banana from Andaman Island, India

New Species, Plants November 10, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Edible wild banana species discovered, the second such on the island in two years.  Musa paramjitiana species grows to height of nine metres and bears an edible, sweet-and-sour tasting fruit, The which has been part of the diet of local tribes people.  The authors suggest the new species might be a good choice as genetic base for plant breeders to develop a high yielding, disease resistant variety of parthenocarpic edible banana The critically endangered species was found in North Andaman’s Krishnapuri forest, 6 kilometres from any human habitation.  See other banana species recently discovered.

Auctioned naming rights to new plant will support further research

Auctioned naming rights to new plant will support further research

Celebrity Taxa, New Species, Plants November 1, 2017 at 9:56 am

A yellow, flowering plant, called biscuit-root, commonly found in a Military Reserve in the Boise Foothills will be named after former Idaho governor Cecil Andrus.  A $10,000 donation from Andrus’ friends helped secure the naming rights, and will memorialize the governor where he could often be seen walking his dogs.  An Idaho congressional bill has been introduced to rename the area to the Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness.  The $10,000 dollars raised will go toward further research of the plant and others like it found in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon.  The plant was identified as a new species throughRead More

A new flower of the Shetland Islands, which has quickly evolved from an introduced species

A new flower of the Shetland Islands, which has quickly evolved from an introduced species

Evolution, New Species, Plants October 24, 2017 at 10:21 am

The beautiful yellow, red-spotted flower is a polyploid, and derivative of a non polyploid species which was introduced into Scotland less than 200 years ago.  Its ancestor was a non-native species introduced to the British Isles, probably from Alaska.

No better gift: EBay auction for a chance to name new plant species

No better gift: EBay auction for a chance to name new plant species

New Species, Plants October 23, 2017 at 9:55 am

The auction will open on Ebay on November 21 and close December 1st.  The money raised will be given to the outdoor education non profit Wild Society. “It’s a pretty spectacular plant, it’s quite large and has these brassy yellow flowers and it grows on very steep slopes near Leavenworth (Washington State) and in that general area,” says botanist Mark Darrach.  The plant is a member of the genus Lomatium in the plant family Apiaceae.  

Two ‘bird-catcher trees’ from Puerto Rico

Two ‘bird-catcher trees’ from Puerto Rico

New Species, Plants October 21, 2017 at 9:44 am

The two new trees belong to an extraordinary genus (Pisonia), containing rare plants mainly known for the ability to tangle birds with their sticky fruits, which inspired the common name “bird-catcher”.  The trees are from the four-o’clock family (Nyctaginaceae) and only found in Puerto Rico.   Pensoft Blog interviewed lead author Caraballo-Ortiz. He remarked that “Birds are the main dispersal agents for Pisonia trees, carrying the sticky fruits glued to their feathers to distant islands. However, sometimes these fruits can trap too tightly and even kills birds, as seen in documentaries. So far, we do not know of cases where birds haveRead More

Two new species of earth’s oldest plants

Two new species of earth’s oldest plants

New Species, Plants October 21, 2017 at 8:26 am

A very old, lone tree found in a botanic garden has turned out to be a new species, a Cycas, one of the first known plants.  Cycas are one of the most ancient plants whose fossils date to the Jurassic period and are often referred to as “living fossils”.  Cycas evolved on the earth as the first seeded plants and they grow very slowly, adding only a few centimetres every year.  Research conducted on a tree found in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden in West Bengal India has revealed two new species of Cycas to the world.  The loneRead More

An orchid with large flowers that smells like champagne, and nine other new orchids from Magagascar

An orchid with large flowers that smells like champagne, and nine other new orchids from Magagascar

New Species, Plants October 18, 2017 at 11:54 am

A new species of orchid with enormous, highly scented flowers has been discovered in Madagascar. It was discovered by Austrian botanist Anton Sieder, who passed on his findings to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, who confirmed the plant, named Cynorkis christae, as being new to science.  Another nine new orchids have been discovered in the same area in the past two years, including Cynorkis aconitiflora a delicate, violet flowered species with blooms similar to Aconitum and Cynorkis elephantina, notable for its speckled flowers and flower stems.

A new species of slipper orchid

A new species of slipper orchid

New Species, Plants October 18, 2017 at 11:38 am

A new species of Paphiopedilum is described from Myanmar.

A space-based microbe, and now a medicinal plant named for Indian President

A space-based microbe, and now a medicinal plant named for Indian President

New Species, Plants September 13, 2017 at 9:52 am

Indian scientists scouting the foothills of Darjeeling have discovered a new plant species and they have lovingly named it after India’s ‘people’s president’ Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.  The shrub was found growing in the forests of Jaldapara and Buxa National Parks in West Bengal.  Scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory had earlier named a new microbe Solibacillus kalamii in honour of Dr Kalam, which has been found only in space, on the International Space Station (story).

‘Extinct’ flower found near popular walking route in Derbyshire

‘Extinct’ flower found near popular walking route in Derbyshire

Lazarus Species, Plants September 12, 2017 at 9:33 am

A plant thought to be globally extinct has been rediscovered growing near a popular country walking route in Derbyshire, UK.  The  dandelion-like flower, the Leek-coloured hawkweed was discovered in Derbyshire in 1898 but not confirmed as a new species until 1942.  It disappeared from the area in the 1950s and died out at its only other site in Staffordshire some years ago.   There are more than 400 species of hawkweed in Britain.

New critically endangered tree species depends on unique habitat found only on Kaua’i

New critically endangered tree species depends on unique habitat found only on Kaua’i

New Species, Plants August 30, 2017 at 9:43 pm

The new Melicope species, 5 to 12 m tall, was first collected and documented as early as 1988.  (Melicope oppenheimeri, described in 2016, is one of the rarest tree species on earth).  94 individuals of the new species Melicope stonei, have been mapped by local botanists in regions featuring unique high canopy mesic forest.  Among the most striking characters of Melicope stonei are the ramiflorous inflorescences, meaning that the flowers spring directly from the branches below the leaves..

Mistaken identity of East Asian vine species resolved after 100 years

Mistaken identity of East Asian vine species resolved after 100 years

Lazarus Species, New Species, Plants July 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

New light has been shed on a misclassified vine species in the Ryukyu Islands of East Asia. This plant was first discovered in 1917 in Taiwan, when it was provisionally identified as Kadsura japonica. The plant was recently spotted again after 100 years, and further investigation proved that it was in fact a different species: Kadsura matsudae.

Another new Australia bush tomato, in a brand new national park

Another new Australia bush tomato, in a brand new national park

New Species, Plants June 28, 2017 at 10:27 am

US botanists have named a new bush tomato species, based on collections made by their Australian colleagues, during government-funded surveys in a brand new national park, Limmen National Park, Northern Territory, Australia.  After looking at collections from biodiversity surveys in a vast are area that is now Limmen National Park, Bucknell University biology professor, Chris Martine, decided to form an expedition to relocate and describe a mysterious bush tomato uncovered during government-sponsored studies.  Notably, Dr. Martine recently discovered and described another bush tomato, from Martine collected the species during a field expedition to Mirima National Park in western Australia, which was namedRead More

Five new species of flowering trees from Sulawesi

Five new species of flowering trees from Sulawesi

New Species, Plants June 22, 2017 at 11:29 am

Syzygium is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs in the myrtle family that contains more than 1,500 species. Only 14 of those were previously known to occur on Sulawesi, the world’s eleventh-largest island, however. By comparison, Borneo, Sulawesi’s larger neighbor to the west (and the third largest island in the world), is home to around 200 Syzygium species.  Three of the five newly described species on Sulawesi qualify for an endangered listing on the IUCN Red List.

A New Hawkweed from Romania

A New Hawkweed from Romania

New Species, Plants June 20, 2017 at 8:40 am

Based on morphological differences from two other belonging to Hieracium sect. Cernua from the Southern Carpathians and considering its apomictic mode of reproduction, a new species of Hieracium is described.

1,730 New Plant Species Were Described in 2016

1,730 New Plant Species Were Described in 2016

New Species, Plants June 1, 2017 at 8:55 am

In a recent addition of Kew Garden’s State of the World’s Plants, they report on 1,730 newly described plant species from all over the world.  This is the second State of the World’s Plants report in which teh authors have scrutinised databases, published literature, policy documents, reports and satellite imagery to provide a synthesis of current knowledge on the world’s plants.

A new orchid from Myanmar

A new orchid from Myanmar

New Species, Plants May 10, 2017 at 7:57 am

This new species was only found in the Kachin State, Myanmar. It is epiphytic on trees in the tropical mountain rain forest.