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Alcantarea hatschbachii

Previously considered extinct, the bromeliad Alcantarea hatschbachii has recently been re-discovered in the Brazilian highlands.
Alcantarea hatschbachii growing beside a stream

Alcantarea hatschbachii growing beside a stream in Santana de Pirapama, Minas Gerais.

Species information

Scientific name: 

Alcantarea hatschbachii (L.B. Sm. & Read) Leme

Common name: 

None at present.

Conservation status: 

Rare. Known from only two localities.

Habitat: 

Brazilian highlands or ‘campos rupestres’ (shrubby montane savanna).

Key Uses: 

Ornamental.

Known hazards: 

None known.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Lilianae
Order: 
Poales
Family: 
Bromeliaceae
Genus: Alcantarea

About this species  

Alcantarea hatschbachii is a handsome green-flowered member of the Bromeliaceae (pineapple family). It was first described in 1975 as Vriesea hatschbachii from a specimen found in the highlands near Gouveia in Minas Gerais, the state with the largest plant diversity in Brazil. Collected by Gert Hatschbach, it was named after him by Lyman B. Smith and Robert Read. Although botanists and amateurs tried to discover more about this species over the succeeding years, it was believed to be extinct until very recently.

However, during a field survey in 2009, this curious bromeliad was finally found again growing amongst rocks beside a stream. Rafaela Forzza, a Brazilian specialist in the Bromeliaceae, was told of this exciting discovery and confirmed that this find represented a second location for the, until then, lost species. The point of collection was recorded using GPS (global positioning system), and plans are now underway to revisit the site to collect living plants for study and conservation in the Botanic Gardens of the Fundação Zoobotânica in Belo Horizonte. 

Synonym: 

Vriesea hatschbachii

Genus: 
Alcantarea

main info

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