Naturalists have rediscovered a sacred plant species that was considered lost or extinct for nearly 200 years. The factory was located near the city of Igarasu, located in northeastern Brazil. This is good news, but scientists warn that the plant may be on the verge of extinction.
Ostrokrzew Holly sapiiformis It was discovered in 1838 by Scottish naturalist George Gardner. It was later formally described by Siegfried Rieseck in 1861. Since then, no other members of this species have been found, leading botanists to believe that the plant is extinct. It was found again this year near the city of Igarasu, located in northeastern Brazil.
A team of scientists led by Gustavo Martinelli, an ecologist at the environmental protection company Navia Biodiversity in Rio de Janeiro, spent six days exploring riverside forests near the city of Igarasu. There small white flowers were seen growing on four sacred bushes Holly sapiiformisWhich in English is called Pernambuco Holly.
– The moment we found it Holly sapiiformisThe world stopped for a moment, said Juliana Alencar, a researcher involved in the mission.
The Brazilian plant is one of the 25 most wanted and lost species in the Search for Lost Species programme. This is the ninth species to be rediscovered since the project began in 2017. Holly sapiiformis It can reach a height of 8 to 12 metres, but is difficult to spot because it resembles many other species in the Sacred family.
– Holly sapiiformis “I’m in a difficult situation right now,” Martinelli said. He added that it may be on the verge of extinction because, as far as we know, there are only four shrubs of this species and they are located in a degraded riverside forest. A riparian forest is a habitat of forests found along rivers and streams.
Holly sapiiformis It is a dioecious species, meaning that the male and female reproductive organs are found on separate shrubs. Of the four trees identified by the team, two are male and two are female.
“It is incredible that holly has been rediscovered in an urban area of nearly six million people,” said Christina Biggs, a specialist in the Lost Species Programme. We don’t often think that plants are missing from science because they don’t move like animals, but they are an integral part of the ecosystems they come from. She added that even if the plant had not been seen for 186 years, it might still be there, and this shrub is a perfect example of the importance of continuing research.
Main image source: Fred Jordan
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