New species of plants found in Lâm Đồng Province

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Camellia Flosculora, a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae is found at Bidoup-Núi Bà National Park in the central highlands Lâm Đồng Province by a group of Vietnamese and international scientists and researchers. — Photo courtesy of Bidoup-Núi Bà National Park

LÂM ĐỒNG — Four new species of camellia (a genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae) and Begonia (a genus of perennial flowering plants in the family of Begoniaceae) – have been found in Bidoup-Núi Bà National Park in Lâm Đồng Province by a group of Vietnamese and international scientists and researchers.

Dr Lê Văn Hương, director of the park, told Việt Nam News that reports of the new four plants – including two camellia species (Camellia Flosculora and Camellia bidoupensis) and two begonia species (begonia hongiaoensis and begonia lamdongiana) – have been recently published by Phytotaxa (a botany journal); Brittonia (a peer-reviewed botanical journal) and International Camellia Society.

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Camellia bidoupensis, a camellia species, is reported as a new species found at Bidoup-Núi Bà National Park. — Photo courtesy of Bidoup-Núi Bà National Park

Hương said the discoveries were thanks to the great efforts made by researchers and scientists during field surveys at the park.

He said the results once again prove the rich biodiversity of the park and the importance of international co-operation in research on finding new species.

The four new species were found at the park during field surveys by scientists from the Southern Institute of Ecology, the Đà Lạt University, the VNU University of Science, Dr Cecilia Koo Botanic Conservation Centre (KBCC), a non-governmental organisation for tropical plant conservation in Taiwan, and the park in the 2018-20 period.

Several new or newly recorded species were found in recent investigations in the park under the ‘Botanical survey in Lang Biang Plateau’, that helped increase the inventory of botanical diversity of Việt Nam.

At least 90 begonia species were reported in Việt Nam, and only three Begonia species had been found in Bidoup-Núi Bà National Park.

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Begonia hongiaoensis (a genus of perennial flowering plants in the family of Begoniaceae) was recently reported as a new species found in Bidoup-Núi Bà National Park. Photo courtesy of Bidoup-Núi Bà National Park

It is clear that this is an underestimation because over three begonias have been recorded based on field surveys. Due to the vast land area of the forest, more new begonias could be expected once more areas within the National Park are explored botanically, reports said.

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Begonia lamdongiana is a new species that was found by group of Vietnamese and international scientists and researchers in Lâm Đồng Province. — Photo courtesy of Bidoup-Núi Bà National Park

The Bidoup-Núi Bà National Park, which covers roughly 70,000 hectares, 91 per cent of which is primary forest, is rich in flora and fauna.

About 2,075 species of flora – one-sixth of Việt Nam’s total – have been found here, while 301 bird species (30 per cent of all birds in the country) have also been spotted.

Hương said the newest camellia (Polyspora huongiana), discovered in 2012 by biologists from both Việt Nam and the Royal Botanic Garden Australia, was named after him for his scientific contributions to conservation.

The park has been co-operating with the World Bank (WB), the Asia Development Bank (ADB), JICA, USAID, and the German International Co-operation Agency (GIZ) in different programmes focusing on the research and protection of flora and fauna and has supported sustainable livelihoods for ethnic groups. —VNS

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