Navigation Links
Europe's rarest orchid rediscovered on 'lost world' volcano in the Azores
Date:12/10/2013

Researchers studying speciation of butterfly orchids on the Azores have been startled to discover that the answer to a long-debated question "Do the islands support one species or two species?" is actually "three species". Hochstetter's Butterfly-orchid, newly recognized following application of a battery of scientific techniques and reveling in a complex taxonomic history worthy of Sherlock Holmes, is arguably Europe's rarest orchid species. Under threat in its mountain-top retreat, the orchid urgently requires conservation recognition.

A lavishly illustrated publication, titled "Systematic revision of Platanthera in the Azorean archipelago: not one but three species, including arguably Europe's rarest orchid", was published today in the peer-reviewed open-access journal PeerJ.

The research team, led by independent botanist Prof. Richard Bateman in collaboration with local botanist Dr. Mnica Moura (University of the Azores) and plant morphologist Dr. Paula Rudall (of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew), originally viewed these butterfly-orchids as a simple, tractable system ideal for studying the origin of species and so they initiated a focused exploration of all nine Azorean islands.

A combination of field and laboratory research soon showed that butterfly-orchids first colonized the Azores from the Mediterranean rather than from North America, rapidly undergoing miniaturization of their ancestrally large flowers. It proved easy to distinguish the widespread Short-spurred Butterfly-orchid (Platanthera pollostantha) from the rarer Narrow-lipped Butterfly-orchid (P. micrantha) using morphology, DNA sequences, and the identities of mycorrhizal fungi associated with the roots of the orchids. However, this 'simple' study was thrown into disarray when Dr. Moura explored remote dwarfed laurisilva forests along the highest volcanic ridge on the central island of So Jorge and found an unusual population of butterfly orchids.

"I immediately recognised the flowers as being exceptionally large for an Azorean butterfly-orchid," said Moura" and e-mailed images to Richard Bateman for confirmation that they were new to science". Data gathered subsequently in the laboratory using several analytical techniques all pointed to the discovery of a new species, and suggested that the species named Platanthera azorica in the PeerJ paper originated relatively recently by a remarkable restoration of the large-flowered morphology of its presumed mainland ancestor.

Bateman then realised that this "new" orchid had in fact been illustrated (but never correctly identified as a new species) in the first ever Flora of the islands, published in 1844, but thereafter had consistently been confused with other more frequent Azorean species. The illustrated specimen, deposited in the herbarium at Tbingen by German botanist Karl Hochstetter, was collected during his tour of six of the nine Azorean islands in 1838. However, as Hochstetter did not visit So Jorge (where P. azorica was most recently 're-discovered') it is entirely possible that the population he originally described may remain to be discovered on another Azorean island.

In the meantime, the team are anxious to obtain conservation protection for the newly-recognized and exceptionally rare orchid. "This remarkable species languished unrecognized for 173 years," commented Bateman. "It's rediscovery and recognition beautifully illustrate the value of integrating field-based and laboratory-based approaches to generate a modern monograph. This methodology both demonstrates that the species is genuine and allows us to make informed recommendations for its future conservation."


'/>"/>

Contact: Richard Bateman
R.Bateman@kew.org
PeerJ
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Worlds rarest whale seen for the first time
2. Camera trap video offers rare glimpse of worlds rarest gorilla
3. Taking Americas rarest snake back to the woods
4. 2 new species of orchid found in Cuba
5. Native orchid protection and conservation subject of new AgriLife Research study
6. Old skull bone rediscovered
7. Largest lake in Britain and Ireland has lost three-quarters of winter water birds
8. Toxic waste sites cause healthy years of life lost
9. The neuroscience of finding your lost keys
10. Lost frog DNA revived: Lazarus Project
11. Aldo Leopolds field notes score a lost soundscape
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Europe's rarest orchid rediscovered on 'lost world' volcano in the Azores
(Date:12/2/2016)... , December 1, 2016 ... (Fingerprint, Voice), Future Technology (Iris Recognition System), Vehicle ... - Global Forecast to 2021", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... Million in 2016, and is projected to grow ... CAGR of 14.06%.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160303/792302) ...
(Date:12/2/2016)...   SoftServe , a global digital technology ... electrocardiogram (ECG) biosensor analysis system for continuous driver ... The smart system ensures device-to-device communication between ECG ... mobile devices to easily ,recognize, and monitor users ... technology advances, so too must the security systems ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... and WARSAW, Poland , Nov. 30, 2016 Not ... one of the most crucial aspects of recovery so we need to do it ... health risks, including heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. ... sleep and find a Christmas present that could help them to manage their sleep ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)...   SurePure, Inc. (OTCQB: SURP) a global ... has concluded an agreement with Tamarack Biotics under which ... to acquire units of the Company,s patented photopurification technology ... Concurrently with the option, SurePure has ... will seek regulatory approvals in the United ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... ... Voice Coil Actuator with a flexure design that ensures high alignment accuracy by ... pricing and is ideally suited where extreme precision is required, such as in ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... - Portage Biotech Inc. ("Portage" or "the Company") (OTC: ... announce the formation of EyGen, Ltd. a new ... through proof of concept. EyGen,s lead asset is ... Limited and being developed for topical ophthalmic delivery ... diseases. This agent has the potential to become ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Equicare Health Inc ., the leading supplier of comprehensive ... the top 100 companies in the 2016 Global Digital ... top digital health companies across the globe.   ... continually upgrading our product with the ongoing digital shift ... Len Grenier , CEO of Equicare Health, "It,s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: