New plant species found in national park in Thailand’s Ranong province

A new plant species has recently been found in the Namtok Ngao National Park, in Thailand’s southern province of Ranong by two Thai horticulturalists.

The new species is called Cute Star Flower (“Dara Pilas” in Thai), with the scientific name Lasianthus Ranongensis Sinbumroong & Napiroon, in honour of Dr. Tiwtawat Napiroon, a lecturer at the Biological Technology Department of the Faculty Science and Technology at Thammasat University, and Arun Sinbumroong, a forestry expert from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation at the 4th conservation area office in Surat Thani province.

The Cute Star Flower belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which is a family of flowering plants commonly known as the coffee, madder or bedstraw family. The family consists of terrestrial trees, shrubs, lianas and herbs which are recognisable by their simple, opposite leaves with interpetiolar stipules and sympetalous actinomorphic flowers.

The discovery of the new species has been accepted for publication in the American Journal of Bioscience.

Being a species found only in a very specific area and which could be at risk of extinction, the research team is considering cooperation with the department and local officials to propagate the species through the use of bio-technological techniques.


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