A new tree species in Dinagat island has been discovered

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A new tree species, related to makopa, guava, and eucalyptus trees, has been discovered in Dinagat Island, according to the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

UP Los Baños professor and botanist Edwino S. Fernando, alongside colleague Dr. Peter G. Wilson of the Australian Institute of Botanical Science, found a new species of Tristaniopsis in the Myrtaceae family, the University reported.

Their findings were reportedly published in Telopea, the Journal of Plant Systematics in October this year.

The Tristaniopsis flexuosa is a small tree, reaching three meters tall, and can only be found on Mount Redondo in Dinagat Island, UP Los Baños said.

Named “flexuosa” for its crooked branches, the Tristaniopsis flexuosa has small leaves and a smooth grey bark, which flakes to reveal a red-brown under-bark, the University said.

The Tristaniopsis flexuosa reportedly does not show any clear affinities to other Philippine species of the genus and shows the most similarities to Tristaniopsis elliptica, a species from Borneo.

According to UP Los Baños, Fernando is professor emeritus at the Department of Forest Biological Sciences, and also serves as curator for palms and other forest plants at the UPLB Museum of Natural History (MNH).

UPLB adds that Fernando is a forest botanist and plant taxonomist who specializes in biodiversity and protected areas, biodiversity conservation policy and planning, and conservation biology and plant genetic resources.

The specimens of new species of plants and trees are deposited at the MNH Forestry Herbarium and Wood Collection.

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