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And then there were 10 -- unexpected diversity in New Zealand kanuka genus Kunzea
Date:8/26/2014

variety to species rank as K. linearis.

De Lange also recognises further seven species new to science. One, Kunzea robusta is actually the most common Kunzea in New Zealand which despite being first recognised as distinct by the missionary botanist William Colenso in the 1840s, was denied formal recognition for some 170 years until now. Aside from Kunzea robusta de Lange recognises two other common new tree species (K. amathicola and K. serotina), and another four narrow-range endemics - K. salterae, K. tenuicaulis, K. toelkenii, and K. triregensis. One of these species, K. tenuicaulis is known only from active geothermal fields.

Aside from the recognition of 10 endemic New Zealand species from what had been regarded as one in 1983, de Lange also reveals that the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand the Maori already knew of many of these species, which they recognised by names which referred to their growth habit or wood properties.

It is shown that far from being serious agricultural weeds all the New Zealand Kunzea are important keystone species, either forming their own distinct forest types or helping to heal damaged forest. Furthermore the New Zealand Kunzea species provide an important habitat for a wealth of endemic geckos, orchids and fungi a far cry indeed from their past much undeserved 'weed' status.

"This paper is also a brilliant showcase of how useful is the brand new PhytoKeys publishing platform for the advancement of taxonomy. Once published taxonomic treatments of new species and any nomenclatural changes are automatically available in advanced open access, easy to find, and are stored in various data repositories in reusable format. Such wide availability of data helps for mistakes and misunderstanding regarding previous confusions in the taxonomy of a certain species to be avoided in future," comments Prof. L
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Contact: Peter J. de Lange
pdelange@doc.govt.nz
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

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