December 1, 2003
Arboretum director and colleagues report botanical
discoveries in Vietnam
The known flora of Vietnam has grown by 3 percent thanks to the efforts
of an international team of scientists that includes Daniel Harder,
director of the UCSC Arboretum. The team recently published its findings
in an article that appears in the Proceedings of the Second National
Conference in Life Sciences (Hue, Vietnam, July 25-26, 2003).
|Plant species discovered or newly reported in Vietnam
include this orchid, Bulbophyllum purpureifolium.
Photo: L. Averyanov
Over the past ten years, Harder and colleagues from Vietnam, Russia,
and the United States have identified more than 100 plant species that
had not previously been found in Vietnam. In addition to these known
species, the researchers have discovered and named more than 200 plant
species new to science. Among the new species Harder helped describe
is the Golden Vietnamese Cypress (Xanthocyparis vietnamensis),
a new genus of conifer.
Harder spent several years in Vietnam as founding director of a botanical
conservation program for the Missouri Botanical Garden. Working with
Vietnamese botanist Nguyen Tien Hiep, Harder helped train Vietnamese
botanists to properly collect, preserve, and archive plant specimens
for international herbaria.
Recent trips have yielded additional species waiting to be named. Last
winter, Arboretum manager Brett Hall accompanied Harder, Hiep, and Russian
botanist Leonid Averyanov on an expedition during which they discovered
new species of small palms, begonias, orchids, aroids, and Impatiens,
as well as a yellow camellia that is probably also a previously undescribed
The addition of more than 300 new species to the Vietnamese flora is
likely to have a significant effect on conservation planning in Vietnam.
Documentation of the country's flora helps government officials understand
which areas are more biologically diverse and perhaps in need of more
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