In a breathtaking exploration, scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have identified 74 new plant species and 15 fungi over the past year. These groundbreaking discoveries range from an underground “forest” to spectacular orchids and were found in unlikely places such as the summit of a volcano and clinging to Antarctic rocks.

Nature has once again demonstrated its ability to surprise, with many of these mysterious species urgently requiring protection. Unfortunately, the scientists warn that at least one of these species may have already been lost. Adding to the concern is the revelation that approximately three-quarters of undescribed plants are currently threatened with extinction.

While emphasizing the beauty and wonder of the natural world, the article serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for biodiversity conservation. The top-10 species newly described to science in 2023 not only showcase the marvels of nature but also sound a warning about the perils of biodiversity loss and climate change.

One of the significant aspects highlighted in the article is the importance of giving a scientific name to these newfound species. According to Dr. Martin Cheek, senior research leader, this is the first step toward implementing protections and exploring potential applications for humanity. Dr. Cheek expresses the sheer sense of wonder that accompanies the discovery of species unknown to the rest of the scientific world and emphasizes its immense significance.

The global discoveries of Kew Gardens for 2023 include three new species of Antarctic fungi, shedding light on the largely unexplored fungal diversity on our planet. The article underscores the potential for discovering new sources of food, medicines, and other active compounds crucial for addressing contemporary challenges.

Among the notable discoveries are an orchid with bright red flowers found on the summit of Mount Nok, an extinct volcano in Indonesia, and an underground palm named Pinanga subterranea discovered on the island of Borneo, Southeast Asia. The article also highlights a peculiar plant, Crepidorhopalon droseroides, from Mozambique, which, though unrelated to other carnivorous plants, uses sticky hairs to attract and potentially digest insects.

Intriguingly, a pair of trees was found living almost entirely underground beneath the Kalahari sands of highland Angola, emphasizing the curious and often overlooked aspects of biodiversity. Another discovery in Madagascar reveals a new orchid, Aeranthes bigibbum, which owes its survival to a unique bird species called the helmet vanga.

Beyond these, the article touches on various other discoveries, including fungi growing on food waste in South Korea, a violet-like flower from Thailand, and an indigo-bearing plant from South Africa.

In closing, the article stresses that on average, scientists name about 2,500 new species of plants and fungi each year, yet it is estimated that as many as 100,000 plants remain formally unidentified. The figure is even higher for fungi, underscoring the vastness of unexplored biodiversity on our planet.

While not conducting this specific research, the Society for Natural and Drug Research (GENAWIF) aligns its mission with understanding and applying the potential of natural substances. As these discoveries shed light on the untapped richness of our natural world, stay tuned for updates from GENAWIF, committed to supporting companies exploring active compounds for medicine and agriculture.

You can read the articel here:

Exploring Nature’s Mysteries! 🌿

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