Nav: Home

A nonet of new plant species from Africa emphasizes the importance of herbaria in botany

August 30, 2016

Combining modern molecular methods, with more traditional morphological ones, a recent revision of the custard apple genus Monanthotaxis has revealed a nonet of new species.

Lying unnoticed on shelves, some of these species had to wait for many decades to be discovered with methods, unavailable at the time of their collection. Some collected 40 years ago, some as far back as a 100, the nine new species are described in the open access journal Phytokeys to showcase the importance of herbarium collections in Botany.

"Although for many of the new species good flowering material became available only recently, this does prove the importance of herbaria, and the need for exploring their collections," explains the lead author, PhD student Paul H. Hoekstra, Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Wageningen University. "On the other hand, using DNA techniques we were able to link recently collected sterile collections to several of these poorly collected species, enabling us to improve their conservation assessment."

Confined to tropical Africa and Madagascar, species from this genus all share similar features such as a typical climbing habit and bluish-green or glaucous leaves.

Two of the newly described species come from West Africa, four from western Central Africa, and for the remaining three Tanzania, Southern Mozambique and the Comoros host one each. This distribution comes in confirmation of a general pattern in recent revisions of both the custard apple family Annonaceae and other tropical African forest taxa, where most new species are found in western central Africa and Tanzania.

Giving important information about areas of potential botanical and ecological interest, this trend is supported by the high level of conservation concern among the newly described species. With five species classified as critically endangered, two as endangered, one as vulnerable the need of further collecting and studying those species and exploration of the relevant areas is warranted.

"Exploring those areas for new species is rather important if we want to have a real idea of their truly amazing botanical diversity," explains Hoekstra. "Madagascar, for example, is also an area with many undescribed species, a fact also true for our group of interest, Monanthotaxis, and we anticipate for at least another seven new species to be described from this area."
-end-
Original Source:

Hoekstra PH, Wieringa JJ, Chatrou LW (2016) A nonet of novel species of Monanthotaxis (Annonaceae) from around Africa. PhytoKeys 69: 71-103. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.69.9292

Pensoft Publishers

Related Madagascar Articles:

NASA examines the soaking from ex-tropical Cyclone Enawo exiting Madagascar
NASA's Aqua satellite observed Ex-Tropical Cyclone Enawo leaving Madagascar, while rainfall data from the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM satellite helped determine the amount of rainfall it brought to the country.
NASA satellites see Tropical Cyclone Enawo moving through central Madagascar
Tropical Cyclone Enawo continued to move through central Madagascar on a southern track as NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites gathered imagery and data on the powerful storm.
NASA sees powerful Tropical Cyclone Enawo threatening Madagascar
Tropical Cyclone Enawo has continued to intensify while moving toward Madagascar.
Humpback habitats off Madagascar revealed as energy exploration ramps up
How humpback whales use marine habitats off the eastern coast of Africa is only partially understood, and that has become a conservation concern as offshore energy exploration expands in the region.
What's up with Madagascar?
The island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa was largely unexplored seismically until recently.
More Madagascar News and Madagascar Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#535 Superior
Apologies for the delay getting this week's episode out! A technical glitch slowed us down, but all is once again well. This week, we look at the often troubling intertwining of science and race: its long history, its ability to persist even during periods of disrepute, and the current forms it takes as it resurfaces, leveraging the internet and nationalism to buoy itself. We speak with Angela Saini, independent journalist and author of the new book "Superior: The Return of Race Science", about where race science went and how it's coming back.