New plant species discovered in China's Hubei-Xinhua

New plant species discovered in China's Hubei

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-03-20 16:40:30

WUHAN, March 20 (Xinhua) -- A team of Chinese researchers has discovered a new species of asparagus in the Dabie Mountains in central China's Hubei Province and named it Asparagus dabieshanensis, according to the Wuhan Botanical Garden (WBG), under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The discovery was recently published in the journal Phytotaxa.

After over 40 field surveys across the Dabie Mountains region, the team discovered this formerly unknown species, which was later observed extensively. The team then collected comprehensive information on its flowers, fruit and seeds.

Detailed morphological comparisons and molecular systematic analysis confirmed it as a new species of the family Asparagaceae. Due to its current discovery only in the Dabie Mountains region, the team designated it as Asparagus dabieshanensis.

According to the team, the new species is similar to A. cochinchinensis (Lour.) Merr. and A. filicinus D. Don morphologically, but differs from the two species in its long and straight cladodes (the flattened leaflike stem), and shorter pedicel (the small stalk bearing an individual flower).

Yang Jiaxin, the first author of the paper and a doctoral candidate at WBG, noted that most plants in the genus Asparagus hold considerable economic importance, as they are commonly used as ornamental plants and ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine. Whether the new species has related economic value will be further studied.

Although three populations of this new species have been discovered in the Dabie Mountains region, their numbers are exceedingly low. According to the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the new species should be provisionally categorized as vulnerable and receive strengthened protection, Yang added.