Rare carnivorous plant on top 10 list of newly discovered species

Jun 01, 2010

Each year The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University names the Top 10 new species described in the previous calendar year. The list for 2009 was published to coincide with the 303rd anniversary on May 23rd of the birth of Carl Linnaeus. It contains only two new plant species, one of which was first published in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society.

Nepenthes attenboroughii, a new species of pitcher plant only known from the summit region of one mountain in the Philippines, was described in the Botanical Journal 159 in February 2009 in a paper by Alastair Robinson and co-authors. It was named in honour of the broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who is an honorary Fellow of the Linnean Society. Among the largest of the pitcher , its pitchers can be up to 30 cm high and 16 cm across.

The only other plant, a Madagascan yam (Dioscorea orangeana), was published by a Fellow of the Linnean Society, Kew botanist Paul Wilkin, and co-authors in Kew Bulletin.

"Annually, an international committee of taxon experts, helps us draw attention to biodiversity, the field of taxonomy, and the importance of natural history museums and botanical gardens, in a fun-filled way by making the selection of the top 10 new species from the thousands described in the previous calendar year. Charting the species of the world and their unique attributes are essential parts of understanding the history of life. It is in our own self-interest as we face the challenges of living on a rapidly changing planet," says Quentin Wheeler, director of the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and an entomologist in the School of Life Sciences.

Dr Vaughan Southgate, President of the Linnean Society of London said, "I am delighted that the of London is attracting such interesting papers for publication and I congratulate the Editor, Dr Mike Fay, the editorial team and referees, all of whom help to maintain the excellent quality of the journal."

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