Species of Canthium (Rubiaceae) are distributed mainly in tropical and subtropical Africa and Asia, with approximately 90–102 species accepted in the genus. During recent surveys of plant diversity in north Myanmar, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) collected specimens of Canthium in Putao, Kachin State.
Based on a detailed examination of the morphological and anatomical characters of the collected specimens and closely similar species, the researchers confirmed that the specimen belonged to a species new to science.
They named it as Canthium longipetalum and got the new species published in Annales Botanici Fennici.
Canthium longipetalum is morphologically similar to C. neilgherrense which has about 3 mm long pedicels and corolla lobes, but differs from it by having 2.5–3.2 cm long pedicels and 1.2–1.4 cm long corolla lobes.
Canthium longipetalum is known from a couple of localities in Putao, Kachin State, northern Myanmar, where it grows in the understory of tropical rain forests, at an elevation of ca. 500–700 m above sea level.
As neither the individuals nor their habitat seems threatened, the researchers assigned the new species a preliminary status of Least Concern (LC) according to the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria.
TAN Yunhong Principal Investigator
Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
Canthium longipetalum (Image by TAN Yunhong)