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Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher
Date:4/17/2014

RIVERSIDE, Calif. One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled upon an orchid they had never seen before.

Unable to identify it, they contacted German Carnevali, a world authority on orchids. The orchid turned out to be an unnamed species. So Carnevali recently named it after the Silveras: Lophiaris silverarum.

"Lophiaris" is the genus name, comprising about 40 species in the world. Carnevali, the director of the Natural Resources Department at the Scientific Center of Yucatan, Mexico, announced the new orchid species in a research paper published in the March issue of the journal Phytotaxa.

Naming a species is invariably a long process. It can take many years to officially name a plant species, the time depending on how well the plant group is studied and whether there is funding to do research on that particular group.

"Orchids are a difficult and confusing taxonomic group," said Silvera, who joined the lab of Norman Ellstrand, a professor of genetics at UC Riverside, in 2011. "People who specialize in the Orchid Family usually spend years naming different species based on DNA and morphology. Sometimes plants can look alike morphologically, but DNA informs us that they are very different species, which makes naming the species difficult."

Silvera explained that because the Orchid Family is so large, there are many species that have not been found before. As a result, ne
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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