A group of scientists from Vietnam National Museum of Nature under Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Hanoi pharmaceutical University and Dresden Plant Institute – Germany, has discovered a new plant species named Aristolochia quangbinhensis Do. This species belongs to the Aristolochia subgenus Isotrema (Aristolochiaceae) branch. The discovery was published on Phytokeys 33(2014).
Aristolochia L. branch has about 500 species. Its main distribution is in tropical and subtropical zone. This species is flavor food of caterpillars belonging to Papilionidae family – Lepidoptera set, and used popularly in traditional medicine in Vietnam and China. This is an important group of plant in studying co-evolution of living creatures.
Aristolochia quangbinhensis Do has the similar morphological characters to Aristolochia championii Merrill, A. versicolor Hwang (distributed in South China) and A. vallisicola Yao (distributed in Peninsular Malaysia). However, the new species can be identified by a combination of the following morphological characters: petiole length is from 1.5 – 2.5 (-3)1 cm; limb is ellipse shape; sepal length is from 1.5 – 2 cm, sepal is bell-shaped with 2 – 2.5 (-3) cm diameter and there are only pink and light purple colours on two sides, perianth does not have colour spots and parallel midribs, perianth of 3 lobes is not equal, edges of lobes are rolled.
Common morphology of Aristolochia quangbinhensis Do (Photo: Nghiem Duc Trong)
The new species was discovered in evergreen broadleaf forest on low mountains, near the buffer area of Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park - the place is under the strong impacts of deforestation to expand cultivation area, which degrading distribution area and size of species. Therefore, according to the standards of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Aristolochia quangbinhensis Do is proposed in nearly danger level (VU D2) and should be conserved.
1: in classifying plants, No. 3 means most of samples measured from 1.5 to 2.5 cm in length, but there are some exceptional samples measured at 3 cm.
Translated by Minh Tam