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

coffee species that could save your daily cup from climate change Seven wild coffee species, mostly native to the mountains of northern Madagascar, feature on the list. This takes the total number of new coffee species discovered by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and its partners over the past ten years to nearly 30, including some weird and wonderful species. Coffea labatii and Coffea pterocarpa have winged fruits, while Coffea namorokensis and Coffea bissetiae are distinctly hairy, and Coffea ambongensis and Coffea boinensis have the largest seeds of any coffee species: their 'coffee beans' are more than twice the size of those of Coffea arabica (Arabica coffee), the main species used in the commercial production of coffee.

"We're still finding new species of coffee, including those directly related to crop plants," says the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew's coffee expert Dr Aaron Davis. "Coffee is the world's second most traded commodity, after oil, with at least 25 million farming families dependent on its production for their livelihoods, yet we still have much to learn about its wild relatives. We estimate that 70% of wild coffee species are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and climate change.

"Conserving the genetic diversity within this genus has implications for the sustainability of our daily cup, particularly as coffee plantations are highly susceptible to climate change. Those involved in the coffee trade could help to future-proof the industry by working with Kew and its partners to create reserves to conserve coffee genetic resources."

Ancient aquatic plant on the rocks Isoetes eludens, a species of an ancient group of spore-plants known as quillworts, and so named because it eluded its discoverers for seven years, was found in a mountain-top rock pool in a remote corner of Namaqualand, South Africa by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew's Director, Professor Stephen
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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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