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

sso, Brazil. The plants in this part of the Amazon are poorly known and threatened by deforestation from cattle farming. "We are almost certainly losing species from this region before they are known to science, and our work is a race against time." says Dr Zappi. "The survey work we have carried out so far is a major step forward in scientific knowledge and is being used by local government agencies to develop a much-needed plan to protect this area."

Also on the list is a new legume genus, Tabaroa catingicola, discovered by Brian Stannard from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and his Brazilian colleagues, on the lower slopes of the Rio de Contas mountain range in southwestern Bahia. The legume family is of great research significance because so many species are used throughout the world as sources of food and medicine. Great potential exists to utilise more species, which is why continued taxonomic research into this family is essential.

Knee-high eucalyptus discovered in SW Australia To many British gardeners the eucalyptus is a fast growing monster; casting shade and debris usually in the neighbour's garden. In Australia, however, the over 900 species of eucalypts are integral to the landscape and culture and come in all shapes and sizes. It seems fitting, therefore, that the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew's Director, Professor Stephen Hopper, an Australian himself, has recently described two fantastic new species in southwest Australia. "You might expect that the plants of Australia are already well-known," says Professor Hopper, "but these kinds of finds are far from unusual, especially in the southwest." Professor Hopper discovered Eucalyptus sweedmaniana with his colleague Luke Sweedman, after whom he named the plant. It is a dwarf in comparison to most eucalyptus species, forming a low-growing mallee (shrub) around 1m high. It survives the bush fires that are common in the area by dying back to a woody underground rootstock, known as a
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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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