UPLB Professor discovers new PH tree

Professor Edwino S. Fernando, alongside colleague Dr Peter G. Wilson of the Australian Institute of Botanical Science, has discovered a new species of Tristaniopsis in the Myrtaceae family (of makopa, guava, and eucalyptus among others). 

Their findings were published as a journal article in Telopea, the Journal of Plant Systematics on 29 October 2021. 

Tristaniopsis flexuosa, is a small tree reaching to 3 meters tall and can only be found in the Philippines, particularly on Mount Redondo, Dinagat Island.

This tree has relatively small leaves, with a smooth grey bark, which flakes to reveal a red-brown under-bark. 

It was named ‘flexuosa’ because of its distinct crooked branches.  Tristaniopsis flexuosa does not show any clear affinities to any other Philippine species of the genus, showing the most similarity with Tristaniopsis elliptica, a species from Borneo.

Dr Fernando is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Forest Biological Sciences and curator for palms and other forest plants at the UPLB Museum of Natural History (MNH).

He 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. 

Specimens of new species of plants and trees are deposited at the MNH Forestry Herbarium and Wood Collection. (Kristel Hope Villafuerte)

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