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Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia yield 18 new species of rare ferns and flowering plants
Date:7/19/2011

Recent botanical exploration efforts in the rugged Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia) have increased the known flora of the archipelago by an impressive 20%. Field research and collecting in conjunction with the Vascular Flora of the Marquesas Islands and Flore de la Polynesie franaise projects have yielded 62 new species of ferns and flowering plants bringing the total native species to 360, of which 18 are newly described and illustrated in a special issue of PhytoKeys.

New findings by researchers from the National Tropical Botanical Garden (David H. Lorence) and Smithsonian Institution (Warren L. Wagner), in collaboration with French IRD and French Polynesian researchers, have brought to light 18 new species and one new variety of ferns and flowering plants from the rugged Marquesas Islands. Since 1988, 62 new species have been described in conjunction with the Vascular Flora of the Marquesas Islands and the Flore de la Polynsie franaise projects, representing a 20% increase in the known native flora. Ten precursor papers by the authors and collaborators describing the new species were published in issue the open access journal PhytoKeys.

According to senior project leader David Lorence, "Intensive field work has revealed that most of these new species are extremely rare and localized endemics, often confined to a single island. Many are known only from one or two localities harboring intact native vegetation that have so far escaped pressures from invasive plant species and feral animals. Consequently we assigned preliminary IUCN Red List ratings of Critically Endangered (13), Endangered (5), or Vulnerable (1) to these new species." Over 6,000 herbarium specimens collected by field botanists were pressed, dried, and distributed to collaborating institutions in Tahiti, Haw
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Contact: Dr. David H. Lorence
lorence@ntbg.org
808-332-7324 x223
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

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Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia yield 18 new species of rare ferns and flowering plants
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