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A stunning new species of dragon tree discovered in Thailand

Date:
October 17, 2013
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a highly distinctive and endangered new dragon tree species -- Dracaena kaweesakii. The new species grows to an impressive 12 m and has soft, sword-shaped leaves with white edges and cream flowers with bright orange filaments. Due to its extensive branching and attractive appearance this dragon tree species is often used as an ornamental plant in Thailand.

This image demonstrates the thickness of a trunk base in a large tree of Dracaena kaweesakii showing the corky, fissured surface.
Credit: Warakorn Kasempankul/Parinya Siriponamat, CC-BY 3.0

The newly discovered dragon tree species Dracaena kaweesakii from Thailand is characterized by its extensive branching. The new species reaches an impressive 12 m in both height and crown diameter, and has beautiful soft sword-shaped leaves with white edges and cream flowers with bright orange filaments, all highly distinctive features.

The study describing this exciting new species was published in the open access journal Phytokeys by an international team of scientists.

Dracaena kaweesakii is a relative of the beautiful Canary Island dragon tree Dracaena draco. It is an ecologically important species found only on limestone hills and mountains that are often associated with Buddhist temples in Thailand.

Dracaena kaweesakii is extracted from the wild for use in horticulture in Thailand and is one of the more popular species due to its extensive branching. Dracaena species in general are thought by Thai people to bring luck to households that have them, hence their popularity. A number of populations of D. kaweesakii are protected by proximity to temples or having been transplanted into their gardens. There is no direct evidence yet of over-extraction but sustainability studies are needed at population level to insure the protection of this beautiful species.

"Dracaena kaweesakii is thought to be endangered through having a limited distribution, destruction of limestone for concrete and extraction of trees for gardens," comments Dr Wilkin about the conservation status of the new dragon tree species.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul Wilkin, Piyakaset Suksathan, Kaweesak Keeratikiat, Peter van Welzen, Justyna Wiland-Szymanska. A new species from Thailand and Burma, Dracaena kaweesakii Wilkin & Suksathan (Asparagaceae subfamily Nolinoideae). PhytoKeys, 2013; 26: 101 DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.26.5335

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "A stunning new species of dragon tree discovered in Thailand." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017100902.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2013, October 17). A stunning new species of dragon tree discovered in Thailand. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017100902.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "A stunning new species of dragon tree discovered in Thailand." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017100902.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

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