74 plants and 15 fungi were named by botanists and mycologists at Kew and at partner organisations around the globe.

They cover everything from microscopic fungi growing on lichens in Antarctica, to a towering giant tree in Cameroon’s cloud forest, weighting in at 7-8 tons.

Last year’s State of the World’s Plants and Fungi report that three out of every four undescribed plant species are threatened with extinction, while there are likely more than 2 million species of fungi left to discover.

Many of the new species are known by only a single surviving individual. Others are found in an area of habitat set for destruction.

But there’s also much to be optimistic about they say

Among the new species named, during a National Geographic Expeditions survey of remote Angola, Kew’s Dr David Goyder found two new tree species buried in the Kalahari sands.

Trees known to this region have as much of their 90% of their body mass deep under the surface, an adaptation to access what little moisture drains through the Earth.

Baphia Arenicola belongs to the bean family and is named literally “growing on sand”, while Cochlospermum adjanyae is named for Adjany Costa – an Angolan colleague recognised for her achievements with the 2019 UN Young Champions of the Earth Africa prize.

Meanwhile A scientific expedition to the volcanic Indonesian island of Waigeo hoped to rediscover a long-lost blue orchid (Dendrobium azureum) last seen more than 80 years ago.

This they did, on the very summit of Mount Nok! Not only this, the team, including Kew’s Dr André Schuiteman found multiple previously unknown orchid species as well.

One new find was Dondrobium lancilabium wuryae (a new subspecies of D. lancilabium), an orchid with spectacular red flowers named for Mrs Wury, the wife Ma’ruf Amin, Indonesia’s vice-president. It is the ninth new orchid from Southeast Asia to be described in the last 12 months by Dr Schuiteman and partners.


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