Poles contributed to research on Papua New Guinea orchids

Poles contributed to research on Papua New Guinea orchids

Polish scientists described a previously unknown small orchid species in Papua New Guinea-Hymenorchis papuana. As they said, the orchid flora in New Guinea is one of the most diverse in the world, and 95% of the local orchids are endemic.

Publications describing new species of orchids in science Hymen Dr. Hab Marta Kolanowska of the University of Lodz and Dr. Sławomir Nowak of the University of Gdansk appeared in the “Annales Botanici Fennici” magazine.

Dr. Kolanowska emphasized that the biodiversity of Papua New Guinea is still poorly understood. Facts have proved that between 1998 and 2008 alone, this area of ​​the island discovered more than 1,000 new species for science, including 12 species of mammals, 43 species of reptiles, 134 species of amphibians, and 580 species of invertebrates. . During this period, of the 218 previously discovered unknown plants, nearly 100 were orchids.

Since the end of 2017, Polish scientists have been conducting research in Papua New Guinea in cooperation with the Czech Academy of Sciences.

“We explored orchid plants during field work at Mount William and when we visited the herbaceous plants on the island. We are currently conducting a comparative study to determine the differences in the flora of primary and secondary tropical orchids,” said the researcher.

Newly described orchid species- hyena -It was first collected in the mountains of Nga Province in 1978, but the specimen of this plant was exported from Papua New Guinea. They were discovered in work carried out in the herbarium of the University of Basel in Switzerland.

“They are small orchids, only 1.8-6.5 cm tall. Their tiny leaves have jagged edges and are arranged along the stem. The inflorescence consists of only 2-3 unremarkable pale yellow flowers-” Dr. Kolanowska described.

Types of Hymen Occurs in Vietnam, passes through Java and the Philippines and then to New Caledonia. The most species of these orchids have been observed in New Guinea, with nine confirmed species.

Dr. Sławomir Nowak emphasized that the orchid flora of New Guinea is one of the most diverse in the world. It is estimated to be about 95%. The orchids found here are endemic-orchids that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

Many of these are unusual species. “For example, it’s worth mentioning the recently described species nightclubAfter blooming overnight, the flowers have fallen in the morning. Unfortunately, our understanding of New Guinea orchids is still insufficient, and we know many species from a single herbarium material.

More than 70% of New Guinea is covered with forests, including unusually rich equatorial forests. Although the island is still the most heavily forested area in the region, logging activities are frequent in many places, especially in parts of Papua New Guinea. The felled forest is usually occupied by oil palm monoculture.

According to scientists, it is difficult to predict the future of New Guinea’s forests, although knowing the situation in other similar parts of the world, you can worry about the worst. Especially since less than 3% are formally protected. Inland areas of the island.

Dr. Sławomir Nowak concluded: “This is why it is so important to know the plants on the island, and describing biodiversity is a race against time.”

PAP-Polish Science, Kamil Zubenski