Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Botanists Discover New Conifer Species In Vietnam

Date:
June 6, 2002
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
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, 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.

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, 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.

Related Articles


"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. 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 Kingdown 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-thepulpit family (Araceae).

For related images, see: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/02/pr0251.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Botanists Discover New Conifer Species In Vietnam." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020606074506.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2002, June 6). Botanists Discover New Conifer Species In Vietnam. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020606074506.htm
National Science Foundation. "Botanists Discover New Conifer Species In Vietnam." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020606074506.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins