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Canopy giants and miniature fungi among 250 new species discovered in Kew's 250th anniversary year
Date:12/22/2009

of plant diversity, and finding solutions for their conservation."

Professor David Mabberley, Keeper of the Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives adds, "Achievements like this year's bumper crop of new species discoveries are only possible because of Kew's international collaborative network. Successful research in the field and Herbarium depends on our in-country partnerships. We are currently working with 100 countries throughout the world."

The full list of over 290 new discoveries can be found on www.kew.org/new-discoveries, together with profiles of selected species, an interactive map and a link to a specially created Google Earth layer www.kew.org/science/new-discoveries/250-species.kml.

Examples of the new discoveries include:

Canopy Giants from the rainforests of Cameroon Among the most gigantic of the new species discoveries are three towering rainforest trees discovered by Xander van der Burgt, and colleagues in the Korup National Park in Cameroon. Talbotiella velutina and Lecomtedoxa plumosa both reach more than 30m into the forest canopy, but Berlinia korupensis, named by Dr Barbara Mackinder, tops these at more than 42m in height with a buttressed trunk almost 1m wide. The Berlinia is a member of the pea family (Leguminosae). It bears beautiful white flowers from which enormous pods some 30cm in length develop. The pods explode when ripe, propelling the seeds ballistically away from the mother tree. Surveys of the Korup National Park revealed that this tree is extremely rare. "We found just 17 trees in our surveys," says van der Burgt. "Even though Korup is protected, Berlinia korupensis is critically endangered due to human pressures on the park." The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and in-country collaborators have discovered and described more than 100 ne
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Contact: Bronwyn Friedlander
b.friedlander@kew.org
44-208-332-5607
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Source:Eurekalert

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