Crown of Venezuelan paramos: A new species from the daisy family, Coespeletia palustris

Nov 07, 2013
This shows the beautiful inflorescence of Coespeletia palustris. Credit: Luis "Kike" Gámez

A joint research led by the Smithsonian Institution (US), Saint Louis University (US) and Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela) resulted in the discovery of an exciting new species from the daisy family. The two expeditions in the paramos high up in the Venezuelan Andes were crowned by the discovery of the beautiful and extraordinary, Coespeletia palustris. The study was published in the open access journal Phytokeys.

The of the genus Coespeletia are typical for high elevations and six of seven described species in total are endemic to the heights of the Venezuelan Andes; the 7th species comes from northern Colombia, but needs further revision according to the authors of the study. Most of the species are restricted to very high elevations, in a range between 3800–4800 m. The specifics of such habitat are believed to be the reason behind the peculiar and unrepeated pollen characteristics of the genus.

This Coespeletia palustris, is found in a few marshy areas of the paramo, and is endemic to the Venezuelan Andes. Páramo can refer to a variety of alpine tundra ecosystems, and is often described with its geographical confinements in the Andes. The páramo is the ecosystem of the regions above the continuous forest line, yet below the permanent snowline.

This is the new species, Coespeletia palustris, in a typical marshy habitat. Credit: Mauricio Diazgranados

"Even after decades of studies and collections in the paramos, numerous localities remain unstudied." Explains Dr. Mauricio Diazgranados. "The new species described in this paper is called "palustris" because of the marshy habitat in which it grows. High elevation marshes and wetlands are among the ecosystems which are most impacted by climate change. Therefore this species may be at a certain risk of extinction as well."

This is a general view of the Laguna de Los Patos and the marshes where the Coespeletia palustris is found. Credit: Mauricio Diazgranados


Explore further: Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

More information: Diazgranados M, Morillo G (2013) A new species of Coespeletia (Asteraceae, Millerieae) from Venezuela. PhytoKeys 28: 9–18. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.28.6378

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Stable temperatures boost biodiversity in tropical mountains

Jun 08, 2011

We often think of rainforests and coral reefs as hotspots for biodiversity, but mountains are treasure troves for species too -- especially in the tropics, scientists say. But what drives montane biodiversity? The diversity ...

World's first mapping of America's rare plants

Oct 17, 2013

The results of a major international research project show that climate stability plays a crucial role in the distribution of plants on Earth. Rare species in the Americas are restricted to areas of California, ...

Recommended for you

Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

Nov 21, 2014

The exclusive club of explorers who have discovered a rare new species of life isn't restricted to globetrotters traveling to remote locations like the Amazon rainforests, Madagascar or the woodlands of the ...

Mysterious glowworm found in Peruvian rainforest

Nov 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer has discovered what appears to be a new type of bioluminescent larvae. He told members of the press recently that he was walking near a camp in the Peruvian ...

The unknown crocodiles

Nov 21, 2014

Just a few years ago, crocodilians – crocodiles, alligators and their less-known relatives – were mostly thought of as slow, lazy, and outright stupid animals. You may have thought something like that ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.