Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Botanists Discover New Conifer Species in Vietnam

05.06.2002


Single branch of Xanthocyparis vietnamensis with two foliage types. Immature foliage on the left and mature foliage on the right.

Image courtesy of Daniel Harder, Arboretum at UCSC.


Type locality of Xanthocyparis vietnamensis within the limestone mountain system at Bat Dai Son, Ha Giang Province, Quan Ba District, Bat Dai Son Municipality within the Bat Dai Son Provincial Protected Area, Viet Nam.

Image courtesy of Daniel Harder, Arboretum at UCSC


An unusual conifer found in a remote area of northern Vietnam has been identified as a genus and species previously unknown to science. The limestone ridges where the tree grows are among the most botanically rich areas in Vietnam, said Daniel Harder, currently director of the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) Arboretum and a co-discoverer of the new species. The discovery is published in the current issue of the journal Novon.

"Biologists don’t need to contemplate finding life on another planet to imagine making extraordinary discoveries; the fact is, most of the species living on our own planet are still unknown," says Norman Platnick, program director in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) division of environmental biology, which funded the research. "That kind of basic, new knowledge about life, its interrelationships, and how it is distributed across the globe, often has enormous practical implications, guiding the search for new medicines, new pesticides, and even new ways to control alien, invasive species."

Harder spent several years in Vietnam, working to establish an on-going survey of Vietnamese plants organized by the Missouri Botanical Garden, which received the NSF funding that helped enable this research. During that time, he and his collaborators discovered more than 100 new species of plants. But the conifer now known as the golden Vietnamese cypress is by far the most remarkable of those discoveries, he said.



"For us to find a previously undescribed large tree like this indicates that there is probably a lot more to be discovered there," Harder said. "It’s comparable to the recent discoveries of previously unknown large mammals in Southeast Asia, like the giant muntjac and the saola, a type of ox."

Other scientists involved in the conifer discovery included Vietnamese botanists Nguyen Tien Hiep and Phan Ke Loc, Russian botanist Leonid Averyanov, and United Kingdom botanist Philip Cribb from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. They found the trees clinging to steep limestone ridges in a mountainous area known as Bat Dai Son near the Chinese border.

The recently discovered tree is a new genus within the cypress family (Cupressaceae); botanists have named it Xanthocyparis vietnamensis, the golden Vietnamese cypress. Its closest relative is the yellow spruce of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, also known as the Nootka cypress. Previously classified as Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, the yellow spruce is now classified as the second species in the new genus Xanthocyparis.

The new species is distinctive in that it bears two different types of foliage (needles and scale leaves) on mature trees. It produces fine, yellowish-brown, hard, fragrant timber that is highly prized by local citizens. Logging has reduced the number of larger trees, but some very large and stately specimens still grow on the steep, rocky slopes of isolated mountain peaks, Harder said. The mountaintop ridges in Bat Dai Son hold remnants of a forest that was once much more widespread, he added.

"This tree was already rare and endangered when it was discovered, which lends urgency to putting in place some protections," Harder said. "These limestone mountains might actually harbor other valuable species."

In addition to the cypress, the collaborative team of botanists exploring the area has found about two dozen new orchid species, a variety of interesting new shrubs, and numerous herbs and bulbs, including a half-dozen new species in the Jack-in-the-pulpit family (Araceae).

Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flavins keep a handy helper in their pocket
25.04.2018 | University of Freiburg

nachricht Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>