Florida palm is a new genus

This video from the USA is called Bahia Honda state park, Florida.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Florida palm a new genus, US scientists discover

• Keys palm more tolerant of cooler climes
• New edition of Genera Palmarum will soon be available

* Wednesday August 20 2008 17:39 BST

It was a case of mistaken identity that lasted more than a century.

A Caribbean palm that is well-known and widely grown in South Florida, the Keys thatch palm, is no longer what it was: Thrinax morrisii.

Instead, the palm turns out to be a different genus, say genetic detectives Scott Zona of Florida International University and Carl Lewis at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The scientists established the new genus Leucothrinax, with the thatch palm the single species. Its new identity: Leucothrinax morrisii.

The Keys thatch palm is known to be more tolerant of cold than the other Thrinax species. It grows naturally in Florida Keys and several other places in the Caribbean, posing as a respectable Thrinax ever since it was first named by German botanist Herman Wendland in 1892.

Yet Lewis, who specializes in tracing family relationships among palms, said, “When we ran the DNA, this one really stuck out”.

Why the mistake?

Because early palm botanists found it hard to carry whole plants back to European botanic gardens for exact identification, Lewis said, they often just used a leaf or perhaps flower stalks. As a result, the identities sometimes were off track. With the revision of a scientific encyclopaedia of palms, Genera Palmarum, those identities have been under scientific scrutiny.

The newest edition of Genera Palmarum, which has been years in the making soon will be available to palm growers and scientists. Lewis is one of the authors.

“It’s nice to have a local part of the story,” he said.

The “leuco” part of the Keys thatch name means white and refers to the whitish undersides of the leaves and the flower stalks.

1 thought on “Florida palm is a new genus

  1. World’s rarest species of palm on verge of extinction in Bangladesh
    Posted : Mon, 20 Oct 2008 05:05:59 GMT
    Author : DPA

    Dhaka – The full-blooming rachis shoots skyward from the top of the rarest species of wild palm in the world. But the budding of the 10-metre tree is unusually depressing for Bangladesh’s Dhaka University botanists studying it, for the flower forecasts its death.

    With the death of what is the only known wild Corypha taliera in the world, the species will be extinct.

    “Typically, its flowering causes death. It is sad that the wild plant of Corypha taliera class will go extinct in a few months,” said professor Md Abul Hasan, chairman of the botany department at the country’s leading university.

    He said the department would collect seeds of the dying plant and make a desperate attempt to cultivate it.

    “We cannot say whether it would be possible to produce the plant in botanical gardens,” he said, referring to the development of one plant in such fashion at a Kolkata botanical garden a few years ago.

    Hasan said no other wild specimen of the plant, which has been red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is known to exist in any part of the world. The plant class was first catalogued by Scottish botanist William Roxburgh in eastern India forests in the late 18th century.

    In Bangladesh, the palm is called Tali. Local scientist Shamal Kumar Basu first identified the specimen on the Dhaka University campus.

    According to the IUCN, another was found in Hawra Botanical Garden in the Indian state of West Bengal, but it did not grow in a natural environment; it was developed in the garden from its seeds.

    Scientists at Dhaka University said they heard about another specimen in a village near Shantiniketan of West Bengal. As the plant produces horn-like flowers, the villagers identified it as a “ghost tree” – and chopped it down.

    Bangladesh environmentalist Dwijen Sharma says there is limited scientific information on the Corypha taliera.

    Professor Abdul Aziz of the university’s botany department said his research team tried to develop the plant through tissue culture, but failed. They will now attempt to cultivate the last seeds.

    Copyright, respective author or news agency


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