Many of us think there's nothing much more out there in the plant world, but two plants made this year's Top 10 List of new species announced by the International Institute for Species Exploration.
The Nepalese autumn poppy (Meconopsis autumnalis) lives at an altitude between 10,827 to 13,780 feet and was found in the high mountain habitat of Nepal. The vibrant, tall yellow poppy flowers in autumn, and scientists say there is evidence the species was collected in the past, but was not recognized as new until botanists rediscovered it miles from human habitation in heavy monsoon rains.
This slender orchid was found in Papua New Guinea by scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Leiden University. They named it Bulbophyllum nocturnum from the Latin word meaning "at night" because its flowers open at about 10PM and close early in the morning. The scientists believe it is the first recorded night-blooming plant among more than 25 thousand known species of orchids.
Entomologist Quentin Wheeler, who is director of the Institute, said the Top 10 is intended to "bring attention to the biodiversity crisis and the unsung species explorers and museums who continue a 250-year tradition of discovering and describing the millions of kinds of plants, animals and microbes with whom we share this planet." This the fifth year that the Institute has released a "Top 10" list. The release on May 23rd coincided with the birth date of Carolus Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who devised the modern system of plant and animal names and classifications.
(photos: International Institute for Species Exploration)