Four New Orchid Species Discovered in Remote New Guinea Region

Posted on March 25, 2016

Dendrobium centrosepalum

Scientists have identified four new orchid species discovered during a 2014 expedition on New Guinea island. The orchids were found during the 2014 Lengguru expedition. The researchers say New Guinea is home to about 11% of the world's orchid flora with 95% of these species endemic to the island.

Lengguru is located on the Indonesia half of New Guinea. It is an extremely isolated mountainous region. 100 researchers including 25 European and 45 Indonesian scientists took part in the 2014 expedition. The region is considered one of the planet's last unexplored territories. It consists of limestone formations known as karst.

72 flowering orchid specimens were collected during the 6-week expedition. Four of them have been identified as new to science by the Indonesian, French and Belgian botanists. The new species Dendrobium centrosepalum is pictured above. The three other newly identified species are named Bulbophyllum leucoglossum, Dendrobium taeniocaule, and Taeniophyllum pyriforme.

Dr. Lina Juswara says in a statement, "Large parts of New Guinea have been overlooked in terms of collection initiatives and it is likely that many species still await discovery there. More field studies are also required to find additional populations of the new species we found in Lengguru, in order to better characterize their habitat, ecology and conservation status. Of the four new orchid species collected during the expedition, three were collected on a single day, confirming that the flora of Lengguru is still far from completely described."

A research paper on the new orchids was published here in the journal, PhytoKeys. You can find out more about the Lengguru expedition on the lengguru.org website.

Photo: IRD, Lengguru 2014 expedition, Dr. Vincent Droissart