November 16, 2010
"The Cardamom Mountains are a treasure chest of new species, but it was a surprise to find something as exciting and charismatic as an unknown pitcher plant," Holden said in a press release.
Pitcher plants' characteristic vase shape allows them to attract and trap curious insects. The insects are them slowly devoured as food. This behavior allows pitcher plants to survive in otherwise nutrient-poor soils.
Dubbed Nepenthes holdenii after its discoverer, the new species is uniquely adapted to survive fire and long droughts.
"This amazing species may be the most drought-tolerant of the genus. Thanks to a large underground tuber, it has the ability to endure extended periods of drought and fires," says botanist Francois Mey who described the species. The tuber is capable of regenerating characteristic pitchers once a fire or drought has passed.
The new species of pitcher plant, Nepenthes holdenii. Photo by: Jeremy Holden/FFI.
Botanist Francois Mey with new species of pitcher plant. Photo by: Jeremy Holden/FFI.
Eight new plants discovered in Bolivia
(11/07/2010) Researchers have described eight new species of plant from in and near Madidi National Park in the Bolivian Andes. Described in the journal Novon by botanists with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the National Herbaium in Laz Paz, Bolivia, seven of the eight plants were found as apart of the Proyecto Madidi (Project Madidi), a ten year effort to describe the plant species of three inter-connecting protected areas in Bolivia—Madidi National Park, Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve and Communal Lands, and Apolobamba Integrated Management Natural Area.
Photos: 200 new species discovered in 60-day expedition in New Guinea
(10/06/2010) A 2009 expedition to Papua New Guinea proves once again that the island-nation is as diverse in life as it is in human cultures. It took researchers with Conservation International (CI) and the local Institute for Biological Research (IBR) just two months to uncover a startling 200 new species: averaging more than 3 a day in the remote Nakanai Mountains and Muller Range rising from the island of New Britain, a part of Papua New Guinea. Half of the new species were spiders, but the team also found two new mammals, nine new plants, two dozen frogs, and multitude of insects. Most surprising was the discovery of at least two species so unique that they are likely to be assigned their own genus.
Mass extinction fears widen: 22 percent of world's plants endangered
(09/28/2010) Scientific warnings that the world is in the midst of a mass extinction were bolstered today by the release of a new study that shows just over a fifth of the world's known plants are threatened with extinction—levels comparable to the Earth's mammals and greater than birds. Conducted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; the Natural History Museum, London; and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the study is the first time researchers have outlined the full threat level to the world's plant species. In order to estimate overall threat levels, researchers created a Sampled Red List Index for Plants, analyzing 7,000 representative species, including both common and rare plants.