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Gymnosiphon afro-orientalis

This flowering plant does not photosynthesise, but depends on fungi instead for survival.
Gymnosiphon afro-orientalis

Gymnosiphon afro-orientalis

Species information

Scientific name: 

Gymnosiphon afro-orientalis Cheek

Conservation status: 

Rated by the IUCN as Vulnerable (VU). This species is known from only seven sites, in four countries, where the habitat is threatened by deforestation.

Habitat: 

Cloud forest (tropical or subtropical evergreen montane moist forest with a high incidence of low-level cloud cover).

Known hazards: 

None known.

Taxonomy

Phylum: 
Lilianae
Subclass: 
Order: 
Dioscoreales
Family: 
Burmanniaceae
Genus: Gymnosiphon

About this species

Gymnosiphon afro-orientalis was discovered by the Kew botanist Martin Cheek during a field trip to Malawi. This expedition involved some work at the Nchisi Forest Reserve, which is protected for timber production. It was during a trek down a shady gully in the forest, where the ground was bare, that a small white, flat-topped, 3-lobed flower on a delicate stalk was spotted. Following this discovery, hundreds more of the plants were found in the few square metres nearby.

Genus: 
Gymnosiphon

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