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 Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>