New Plant Species Discovered In Panama

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Panama’s tropical environment is host to a wide array of plant species—more than 10,000. Recently, this number grew by one, as a new plant species was discovered in the province of Colon.

This plant species is not just new to the region—it is new to botany altogether, having never been discovered before. The species is of the Afelandra species (of which already has more than 200 known species) and was discovered by a team of American botanists. They published their discovery in the New York Botanical Garden Scientific Journal a couple of weeks ago.

The scientific name of the species is Aphelandra merelloae. It flowers from May to January and bears fruit from July to February.

Panama’s expansive biodiversity is one of its greatest assets; however, biologists worry that deforestation and mining operations put this biodiversity at risk. Panama has decreased its rate of deforestation greatly in the past two decades (averaging 41,000 hectares per year from 1992–2000 and 13,600 hectares per year from 2000–2008), and some studies even show Panama turning a land-management corner of sorts, with reforestation efforts beginning to catch up with deforestation efforts.

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