New plant family, genus, species discovered

Writer: Wang Jingli  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-05-10

Researchers from Shenzhen Fairy Lake Botanical Garden discovered a new plant family, genus and several new species during their recent survey of plant diversity at Qiniang Mountain in Longgang District, according to Shenzhen Economic Daily.

The newly discovered plant family is Putranjivaceae, and the plant genus is Putranjiva. The new species discovered include the windowsill orchid (P. formosana), strand sedge (Carex pumila), Dioscorea futschauensis, and yellow-flowered eulophia (Eulophia flava).

                The plant genus Putranjiva.

It is said that Putranjiva has only four species worldwide, which are Putranjiva roxburghii or lucky bean tree (distributed from the South Asian subcontinent to the island of New Guinea), P. zeylanica or wild white leadwort (unique to Sri Lanka), P. matsumurae or Japanese maple (unique to Kyushu and Ryukyu in Japan) and P. formosana or windowsill orchid (originally believed unique to Taiwan).

According to the researchers, the windowsill orchid has also been recorded in “Flora of China (English version),” but no specimen has been found. This plant species is sparsely distributed in the wild and rarely seen. Based on the habitat observed during this field investigation, the population is estimated to be very small, and the specific number of individuals, sex ratio and growth status need to be further studied.

Yellow-flowerd eulophia.

The discovery of the yellow-flowered eulophia was also exciting to the researchers as this plant species was previously known to be distributed only in China’s Hong Kong, Hainan and southwestern Guangxi.

About 10 years ago, plant lovers in Shenzhen discovered it in the Qiniang Mountain area, but it has not been reported or collected since. Only three flowering plants were found during this field survey, and the population is endangered.

In 2017, Shenzhen Fairy Lake Botanical Garden published “Flora of Shenzhen,” which recorded 2,080 species of wild plants in Shenzhen. Over the past six years, the garden has continued to conduct plant biodiversity surveys and has discovered five new species with 156 new records in Shenzhen.