Minute fungi and tiny flowering plants join the list of species newly discovered by Kew
Some of the smaller - but no less important - new species include tiny fungi and flowering plants less than 10 cm tall.
22 Dec 2009
Miniature discoveries include two new species of Gymnosiphon and tiny fungi
The smallest species on Kew’s new species list are wood-rotting fungi, which are less than a millimeter thick and cover their hosts like a lick of paint.
With a Swedish colleague, Dr Brian Spooner and Dr Peter Roberts, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s experts on fungal taxonomy, have just described five of these minute fungi. ”They are small, but they perform a vital role in decomposition of plant material and recycling of nutrients,” says Dr Spooner. These new fungi were among many specimens collected during a joint Anglo-Australian expedition to the Kimberley Region of Western Australia in 1988 and which are still under study.
Other miniature discoveries in this year’s list include two new species of Gymnosiphon; bizarre little flowering plants less than 10cm tall that derive their energy not from the sun but from underground fungi. Marie Briggs, the Kew botanist who discovered one of these plants in Madagascar in 2007, seems to have a penchant for discovering small plants. While on an expedition to western Madagascar in 2009 she found specimens of a new genus of succulent belonging to the coffee family (Rubiaceae), and which is less than 3cm tall.
- Gymnosiphon afro-orientalis
More about Kew's discoveries...
- A bumper year for Kew in new species discovery
- Canopy giants from the rainforests of Cameroon
- New palms from Madagascar
- New coffee species that could help safeguard your daily cup
- An ancient aquatic plant on the rocks
- Discovered in a glasshouse!
- New knee-high eucalyptus discovered in Australia
- New species of indigo
- Orchids from Borneo's highest mountain
- A unique endangered yam from South Africa
- Twenty new species from Brazil
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