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   Location:Home > Research > Research Progress
New tree species found in Xishuangbanna
Author: Peng Xiaobin
Update time: 2024-07-03
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The Lauraceae is an important basal angiosperm group, widely distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world.  Beilschmiedia is one of the largest genera in Lauraceae and has a typical pantropical distribution.

During field work from Menghai county to Lancang county in Yunnnan province, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) collected an unknown fruiting Lauraceae taxon. After careful morphological studies and phylogenetic analyses, the researchers confirmed that the material belonged to the genus Beilschmiedia and represented a species new to science. They named it Beilschmiedia mengwangensis to refer to its type locality Mengwang of Xishuangbanna.The new species was published in Systematic Botany.

Beilschmiedia mengwangensis is a tree up to about 20 meters. It is morphologically similar and phylogenetically closely related to Beilschmiedia brachythyrsa. However, it can be distinguished from Beilschmiedia brachythyrsa by having larger fruits, longer and thicker fruiting pedicels, larger leaf blades, and more lateral veins. 

Wild individuals of the new species have only been found in forest along along stream side in river valley in Huitang Village, Mengwang, Menghai County, at an altitude between 600 and 700 m.  

Filed work showed that the environment around the type locality had been seriously affected by the expansion of agricultural land and relocation of residents displaced by the reconstruction of downtown hydropower station. Living Beilschmiedia collections at XTBG include another two immature individuals of the new species.  

"An accurate assessment of the conservation status for this new species a crucial area of focus for future research,” said LI Jie of XTBG. 


LI Jie Ph.D Principal Investigator 

Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China  

E-mail: jieli@xtbg.ac.cn
First published: 24 June  2024  


Immature fruit of Beilschmiedia mengwangensis.

Leaves of Beilschmiedia mengwangensis. (Image by PENG Xiaobin)

Seedling of Beilschmiedia mengwangensis. (Image by PENG Xiaobin)

Mature individual of Beilschmiedia mengwangensis in natural habit. (Image by PENG Xiaobin)

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Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
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