• January 20, 2021

Africa’s ‘Miracle berry’, ‘Tragic orchid’ lead list of new plant species discovered in 2019

A report by the United Kingdom’s Royal Botanic Gardens has unveiled 110 outstanding newly-described plants gotten from across the globe in 2019.

According to the report, 102 plants and eight species of fungi were named for the first time, but many are already threatened with extinction due to human activities.

One of the new species, which was discovered in Africa was the ‘Miracle berry’ (Synsepalum chimanimani). The plant is said to produce fruits containing a compound known as miraculin, which blocks the tastebuds and makes sour foods taste sweet.

Also from Africa, the ‘Tragic Orchid’ (Inversodicraea koukoutamba) which was discovered in Guinea later this year, is said to be the most tragic species from 2019. The plant is expected to become extinct when a hydroelectric dam is built-in 2020.

Galanthus bursanus from Turkey, Rubroshiraia, and Zhuhongjun from China, are also among the new species discovered by scientists this year.

Head of Identification and Naming at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Tim Utteridge, divulged to CNN that these species were very important steps in conservation efforts and allow the scientists to list properties, genes, and chemical defense

His words, “Plant conservation efforts can be overshadowed by campaigns for endangered animals in the public eye, and the scientists are often pulling together behind the scenes.”

He further stated that the loss of the plant could possibly have a knock-on effect on human populations, but ” knowing what it means, we can at least do something to try and keep it alive.

In Utteridge’s remarks, for the plants to be saved, we should all embrace each other’s conservation stories. He said every plant, no matter how small they are can play an outsize role in maintaining habitats for other creatures further up the food chain.

He stressed that these plants are foundations of life on earth and safeguarding them was very vital to the ecosystem.

SOURCE: AGRONIGERIA

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