Rare plant species found in Yunnan
Dipteronia dyerana, an endangered plant endemic to the Chinese mainland, was found growing in Malipo county of the Wenshan Zhuang and Miao autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province, on Sept 8.
After two days of field investigation, a team led by Qiu Yingxiong, professor at the School of Life Science of Zhejiang University, discovered 20 trees of the plant listed as a "Red List" threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Capable of reaching 10-15 meters tall, dipteronia dyerana has a smooth surface and flower in groupings of five petals. Of the recent discovery, one of the trees is 12 centimeter in diameter, the largest ever seen in China.
The plant is currently under second State protection in China, regarded of high value for science.
"The dipteronia dyerana we spotted are growing outside of the protection area and we have extracted some land samples and its DNA,” said Qiu.
Chinese botanist Cai Xitao first discovered the plant in Yunnan's Laojun Mountain National Natural Reserve in 1993. Its fruit can be squeezed into an edible oil. Experts say overcutting is the main reason for the plant's endangerment.
Fruit of dipteronia dyerana. [Photo by Yang Guijun/yunnan.cn]
Leaves of dipteronia dyerana. [Photo by Yang Guijun/yunnan.cn]
Experts investigate the dipteronia dyerana. [Photo by Yang Guijun/yunnan.cn]