New genus found in Honduran rainforest

Botany team pic for new Honduras genus 576x320 New genus found in Honduran rainforest

The botany team in Honduras

A new kind of tree, first collected on an Operation Wallacea expedition in 2004, has just been published in the Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

The tree was found in the course of a systematic survey of the rainforest vegetation of Cusuco National Park, carried out by the Forest Botany team under the leadership of Dr Daniel Kelly of Trinity College Dublin.

The flora of Central America is very rich and by no means well-studied, so another unidentified tree did not attract immediate attention. Back in 2006, the Operation Wallacea group found another tree of the same species, that time with fruits. Each fruit was about 2cm across, with a cup-like structure projecting at the apex, and a single large seed inside. The flowers, in contrast, were tiny – only 2mm across. Male and female flowers were produced on separate trees. Microscopic examination showed that the male flower was also peculiar. The stamens have three pollen sacs, reminiscent of a minute clover-leaf – an arrangement apparently unique among flowering plants.

The tree is known by local people as ‘guayabillo’ because of the superficial resemblance of the fruit to a guava (Spanish guayaba). However, the fruit is not succulent; it appears to function as a nut. According to local information, it is eaten by small mammals. These hoard the seeds and probably act as dispersal agents.

Mystery tree breakthrough

Having a genus of tree that is known from nowhere else in the world is something that should impress authorities, visitors and local people with the international importance of this site

Specimens were studied at the Natural History Museum in London in collaboration with Ms Caroline Whitefoord who made use of the extensive collections and taxonomic expertise there and at Kew. However, for a long time nobody could ascertain to what group of plants the ‘Mystery Tree’ belonged.

The breakthrough came in May 2007, when a specimen, thought to belong to the family Santalaceae (Sandalwood family), was sent to Dr Carmen Ulloa Ulloa, at Missouri Botanical Garden. Dr Ulloa realised that this specimen had no obvious affinity with any known members of this family. She contacted Dr Daniel Nickrent, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, who had both morphological and molecular experience with the Sandalwood order (Santalales).

Dr Nickrent extracted DNA from a dry herbarium sample and in a preliminary analysis the ‘Mystery Tree’ appeared to be related to Aptandraceae, not Santalaceae. Dr Ulloa examined extensive herbarium material of the family and relatives in this group, but none matched the specimens from Honduras. Fresh leaf material was needed to complete the DNA sequences and confirm the preliminary taxonomic position.

“To describe a new genus is perhaps a once in a lifetime experience”

DNA identification

On a third Operation Wallacea expedition, in 2008, a fresh leaf sample of the ‘Mystery Tree’ was collected and dried on silica gel. This sample was mailed to Dr Nickrent, DNA was extracted and sequences from four different genes were determined. These sequences, in combination with others from related plants, allowed the generation of a phylogenetic ‘tree’ which confirmed its position in Aptandraceae. These related species came from countries as distant as Peru, Gabon and Indonesia.

Hondurodendron fruit close J Kolby DSC 0304 199x300 New genus found in Honduran rainforest

Hondurodendron fruit, by Dr Jonathan Kolby

By comparing the genetic distance between each of the included genera, Dr Nickrent realised that the ‘Mystery Tree’ should be recognised as a new genus. To quote Dr Ulloa Ulloa, “Although many botanists describe numerous species as part of their scientific work, to describe a new genus is perhaps a once in a lifetime experience”.

Naming the tree

For the genus, the name Hondurodendron was chosen, meaning ‘tree of Honduras’ (dendron being Greek for tree). The Latin specific epithet urceolatum means shaped like a pitcher or urn, and alludes to the diagnostic shape of the fruit.

At present Hondurodendron is only known from the Cusuco National Park, having not been found yet in adjacent mountainous areas. This plant is thus considered a rare endemic, an exciting discovery.

Hondurodendron thus represents a ‘flagship species’ for Cusuco National Park. Having a genus of tree that is known from nowhere else in the world is surely something that should impress authorities, visitors and local people the international importance of the site. It should also stimulate further exploration – for who knows what other mysteries are hidden in these still extensive but, sadly, still shrinking forests?


Acknowledgements

Particular thanks go to Caroline Whitefoord for her support and assistance.

Written by

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

11 Responses to “New genus found in Honduran rainforest”

  1. Good answer back in return of this matter with genuine arguments
    and describing all on the topic of that.

  2. ,” and ‘Don’t use Microsoft emails (hotmail,outlook), They are monitoring your accounts and selling your data on the governments. There are tiers to the challenges, so while the first tier may net you 500 experience points, the fifth tier may net you 10,000 experience points. State policies has in most areas Titanfall Telecharger been viewed to adopt a rising ananiathesis of intergovernmentalism ultimately causing neo-functionalism.

    my website: titanfall baixar

  3. That said, for those that drive a van for an employer may not be aware that their employer may be responsible for the care of
    your eyesight and that you may be entitled to certain benefits,
    like a free eye-test and the provision of spectacles if you are found to be in need.
    The best way to determine if you are a good candidate for eye
    surgery and to learn more about what you can expect before, during and after
    an operation is to schedule a consultation with an experienced eye specialist.
    It’s a sad fact that the rays of the sun are harmful and you
    need to protect your skin with sunscreen even when the skies
    are cloudy.

    My blog post :: free eye exam and contacts greenpoint brooklyn

  4. Pick and choose from these activities based on your students’
    needs and interests. It is possible to now enroll them in a sports camp.
    Are you still managing your camp using manual systems.
    You may have to spend a few nights away from even basic facilities like power.
    This is mainly because of the fact that most humans tend to act lazy at most number
    of times than usual. The types of indoor as well
    as outdoor activities are the most useful methods to
    open up abilities and distinctive abilities inherent in you.
    At my daughter’s party, people were having an enjoyable time and had a lot of curious questions:
    What activities do they offer at summer camp. These camps can be of two type,
    summer day camps or maybe overnight camps.
    As your campers gather together, prepare to raise a flag and sing
    your favorite patriotic song. My great grandfather would hold two fingers together at arms length and measure the
    distance.

    Here is my page :: summer program activities delray beach

  5. Almost every country on Earth has the internet,
    which means that a company’s marketing efforts can be seen on a global scale.
    But these social media sites are amazing places where they could interact with their fans and create a
    bonding. 9) The Law of Facebook Multimedia- Videos and Photos.
    Each tool serves specific needs but all of them definitely speed up and
    simplify the process of managing different social media accounts.
    In other words, your services need to be essential and worth the effort
    for consumers. Marketing consultant is capable of applying appropriate strategies for websites
    to create the needed traffic and increase sales.

    Some of these tips are free, but you may have to pay small fees for other aspects of your plan. Outsourcing corporate event designing has its own advantages and though there is a service fee, the final net profit of time and
    money saved can definitely even out money wise. If you fail to tell someone you love them if you do, and then they die; that
    loss is forever. There is one unique twist: You have birthdays under the “upcoming” tag- and you can send presents to folks.

    Feel free to visit my website; social media marketing experts

  6. Every year I have friends along with their wives that stay
    for Bike Week. He said that the initial thought was that he
    was going to wear a wig. Women’s magazines featured women with glorious sun tans.
    DHA acts as an enzyme on dead skin cells which are still attached to the outer layer of skin. Working from the feet up will help
    you avoid marking or creasing the tan. Salons and
    spas also use tanning spray cans for applying the fake tan. People
    who enjoy a good sunless tan are raving about Fake Bake lotion.
    Sun Laboratories sells various forms of sunless tanning products that are available in many different shades to
    both the consumer and the professional salons.
    Allow for 8 to 12 days prior to reapplying the spray tan. If you find
    a problem with a LV bag they will usually accept returns.

    My website; spray tanning salons near you

  7. The extract of this medicinal fruits assists in guarding standard cholesterol levels and in preserving physique body weight beneath take care of.
    This article reviews one of the best weight loss supplements on the
    market – Garcinia Cambogia. The use of supplements for the purpose of losing weight takes a
    longer time before showing results as opposed to the Garcinia Cambogia weight loss products which works at a faster rate.
    In the world, many people have lost their jobs, because of the overweight problems and
    there are persons, who cannot even stand from the bed.
    Diabetics can encounter complications of varying degrees of seriousness, but with the help of a natural
    supplement like Ultimate Garcinia, diabetics can lead a healthy lifestyle by
    managing their diabetes through the insulin-boosting benefits of chromium and effective, efficient weight loss.

    There has been a great deal of information raving Garcinia
    Cambogia nutritional supplements being a reputable a part of shedding weight and hundreds of over weight folks have demonstrated a genuine
    adoration for using it. Garcinia cambogia extract my kink is
    accepted by compari. It’s had any effect the house down and have
    a penis with the office hours skip measure an ultrasound can detect whether the blood flow to the
    penis has improved but it’s not good news for James to James
    we can see that the blood flow from this test into the
    penis is not sufficient for James the garlic hasn’t made a
    difference but doctor Jackson thinks that changing his blood pressure drug will help and there’s no
    harm in continuing with the Gallic there are certain drugs that use for blood pressure which actually make corrections worse said here
    on one other so what we gonad a switch that one all right our thanks very much for has the garlic works for
    David Kerr so this is a test Raceway the for love lost its appeal service Strawberry Garcinia Cambogia schools you got more than enough Cummings to produce cracks her some Fiona catches
    up with James and David to get their answers to the question.
    Consequently, much of this excess calorie is converted into fat which
    is then stored in fat cell throughout the body.
    Please Visit Official Website: >>>>> Lean Body
    Extreme <<<<<.

    my page: Where To
    Buy Garcinia Cambogia Supplements

  8. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my website thus i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to
    find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    Look into my homepage; Power Garcinia Diet (http://www.carameleggpudding.com)

  9. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much
    more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more
    often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Great work!

    Here is my weblog: Avoir Reviews (Blogspot.Hk)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention New genus of tree found in Honduran rainforest | Biodiversity Science -- Topsy.com - February 2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by naturinventur, Gary Grant, Tree Year, Saving Species, biodiversitysci and others. biodiversitysci said: New genus found in Honduran rainforest : http://tinyurl.com/6hkysyn #biodiversity #conservation [...]

  2. Google - August 2012

    Google…

    [...]the time to read or pay a visit to the content or web sites we’ve linked to beneath the[...]…

Leave a Reply