Filipino scientists discover new species of Shooting Star flower in Quezon Province

Photo credit: DOST-FPRDI

A new subspecies of Hoya – also known as shooting star – was discovered by Filipino scientists in Quezon Province.

The new addition to the great variety of the Asian flower-bearing vine was reported by a group of botanists from Department of Science and Technology-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI).

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Known as shooting star or waxplant because of its ball-like waxy flower, Hoyas are Asian native evergreen perennial creepers that grow and can be found in countries with tropical climate such as India, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

DOST botanists Jennifer Conda, Fernando Pitargue, Jr., and Dr. Ramiro Escobin found the new subspecies of Hoya named Hoya meliflua Merr. subsp. escobinae Kloppenb. Conda, Buot & Pitargue and had it listed in the International Plant Name Index (IPNI).

Jennifer Conda narrated the process of discovery, “Our team collected cuttings of the plant from the Quezon Protected Landscape in 2012. Immediately after the first flowers bloomed, we sent samples for examination to Dr. Dale Kloppenburg, a renowned Hoya expert from

the United States,” she said.

She added, “He then confirmed that it was a new subspecies, which showed several similarities with Hoya meliflua Blanco ex Merr. but with some notable differences. Results were published in Hoya New, a publication devoted to studies about Hoya, and listed in the IPNI.”

The calyx lobe or sepals of the newly found species, based on Conda’s description, are tongue-like and long while its corolla lobes or petals are elongated and have serrated edge, as compared to the Hoya meliflua Blanco ex Merr with broadly oval to oblong sepals and broadly triangular petals.

Conda also added that at present, there are 109 species of Hoya recorded all over the country, 39 of them with 3 subspecies can be found in Quezon province in Luzon.

The new discovery of a subspecies of Hoya plant, a favorite among flower enthusiasts for its “waxy leaves and a cluster of flowers that holds up to 40 individual flowers firmly packed together,” is another indication of the Philippines’ rich and diverse wildlife and ecosystem.

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