6 June 2024

A group of researchers from the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science at Chiang Mai University has found a rare species of flowering plant in the evergreen forest in Janae and Sukhirin districts of Thailand’s southern province of Narathiwat.

Led by Assistant Professor Dr. Tanawat Chaowasku, the small team of researchers, which included two PhD students, came across the plant of the Annonaceae family, scientific name Phaenthuspiyae Wiya, Aongyong & Chaowaskul, during their expedition.

The name was in honour of Dr. Piya Chalermklin, a senior researcher who pioneered the study of plant species of the Annonaceae family in Thailand.

The discovery of the rare plant was published in the 4th edition of the Taiwania academic journal last year.

The research was funded by Thailand Science Research and Innovation.

Although the rare plant was found in an evergreen forest, they are at risk of being wiped out because the forest is surrounded by rubber plantations and fruit orchards. The researchers said that it is necessary to conserve the species, before they are to be destroyed by human encroachment.

The pristine forests in Narathiwat and Yala provinces also yielded another rare plant species, of the Phaeanthus family, scientific name Phaeanthus Lucidus Oliv.

In addition to their sweet smell, the Phaeanthus family of plants have been used as medicinal plants by people in Southeast Asia for generations.