KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s reputation as a biodiversity hotspot is again reaffirmed with the discovery of 11 new orchid species.
Naturalist and Sabah-based publisher Datuk C.L. Chan said the new species were described by Peter O’ Byrne, a world authority on Borneo orchids, during his ongoing research.
“These species were found in various parts of Sabah, including Kinabalu Park,” he said.
The new species, which are from the Dipodium family, were described and reported in the Malesian Orchid Journal published by Chan once every two years.
One of the new species, Dipodium chanii, was named after Chan himself while another, Dipodium lambii, was named after Datuk Anthony Lamb.
Lamb, a British botanist, began working in Sabah 54 years ago and was instrumental in setting up the renowned Tenom Agriculture Centre.
“The continuous discoveries of new species of orchids as well as insects indicate the wealth of our biodiversity and why preserving it should be a priority,” said Chan.
He said it was also recently found that of the 41 species of the Malestoma family found in Sabah – a kind of shrub – 31 were new to science.
“There is so much more yet to be discovered,” he said.
“Imagine if a forest that contains a plant which is unique to that location and with cancer-curing properties is cleared. That would be a loss to humanity,” he added.
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