UPLB-Australian team discovers new tree species in Dinagat Island

UPLB-Australian team  Dinagat Island
The newly recorded species, Tristaniopsis flexuosa, is a small tree endemic to the Philippines. Photos from Telopea, the Journal of Plant Systematics.

The discovery of a new species of tree in Dinagat Island by botanists from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the Australian Institute of Botanical Science has been officially published.

The new species, Tristaniopsis flexuosa, is a small tree reaching 3 meters tall and is endemic to the Philippines. It can be found on Mount Redondo, Dinagat Island.

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The research team composed of UPLB professor Edwino S. Fernando and Dr. Peter G. Wilson of the Australian Institute of Botanical Science reported their findings of a new species of Tristaniopsis (Myrtaceae) in the online scientific journal Telopea, the Journal of Plant Systematics on October 29, 2021.

The tree is described as having “relatively small leaves, with a smooth grey bark, which flakes to reveal a red-brown under-bark”, according to a UPLB report.

“It was named ‘flexuosa’ because of its distinct crooked branches. Tristaniopsis flexuosa does not show any clear affinities to any other Philippine species of the genus, showing the most similarity with Tristaniopsis elliptica, a species from Borneo,” the university adds.

Dr. Fernando is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Forest Biological Sciences and curator for palms and other forest plants at the UPLB Museum of Natural History (MNH).

According to the UPLB, the specimens of new species of plants and trees are deposited at the MNH Forestry Herbarium and Wood Collection.

UPLB researchers have also recently found bacteria in the soils of Mayon Volcano in Albay, Bicol that may possess potential antibiotic and anti-colorectal cancer properties.

Two medicinal plants commonly found in the Philippines with properties that could potentially treat novel coronavirus patients were identified by a botanist of the UPLB.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to botanists from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the Australian Institute of Botanical Science for discovering a new species of tree in Dinagat Island.

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.