This remarkable new species was discovered in the highly endangered Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil.
About this species
Kerianthera longiflora was discovered by Caetano T. Oliveira and Leandro Giacomin during inventory fieldwork in the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil. This species was found to belong in the genus Kerianthera, which was previously only known from the Amazon Forest. The Atlantic Forest of Brazil is one of the world’s most endangered environments. This is because it coincides with the most highly populated part of Brazil, and agricultural and mining activities in the area date back to the 1700s.
Kew has been involved in the study and cataloguing of Brazilian Rubiaceae (coffee family) for over ten years and has helped build capacity for staff in Brazil to develop research in floristic inventories and other baseline research.
Geography & Distribution
This species is restricted to the Atlantic Forest of the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, in eastern Brazil.
Kerianthera longiflora is a tree that grows up to 15 m tall, with a trunk of 20 cm diameter. The showy leaves are green, hairless, shiny and up to 50 cm long. The leaves are simple (not divided) and opposite (inserted at the same point on the stem). The flowers are borne in large inflorescences with attractive red semaphylls (transformed calyx lobes). Each flower has five petals, which are united in a long white tube, and five stamens (male parts). The stamens are multilocellate (they have many compartments in which the pollen is stored, resembling a honeycomb). The fruit is dry and capsular, and the seeds are winged.
It is thought that this species may be pollinated by hawkmoths, and that the seeds are dispersed by the wind.
Threats & Conservation
This plant is threatened by the reduction of its natural habitat, due to deforestation in the region, which is carried out to clear land for agricultural (for example for pasture and coffee plantations) and mining.
Keep up to date with events and news from Kew
- newly discovered
- around the world
- of use
- ground breaking
- english garden
- garden plants
- english heritage
Plants & Fungi blogs from Kew
27 Jan 2014
Alan Paton, Assistant Keeper of Kew's Herbarium, describes some of the problems associated with plant names and the importance of the new release of The Plant List.
16 Dec 2013
Rhian Smith takes a closer look at Christmas trees and their relatives, and describes the scientific work Kew is carrying out on the taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of this important group of plants.
09 Dec 2013
Sarah Cody explains how gap analysis is helping our partners collect the seed of crop wild relatives (CWR) for a project called 'Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change', run jointly by Kew's Millennium Seed Bank and the Global Crop Diversity Trust.
25 Jan 2013
He may be a Seed Morphologist but Wolfgang Stuppy of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank discovers there is more to the snake gourd than just some strange fruit and eccentric seeds.
03 Jun 2013
The southeast Asian plant Durian has been called the King of Fruits but, like Marmite, it sharply divides opinion between those who love the incredible taste of its custard-like pulp and those who are revolted by its putrid smell.