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New species of orchid found in Xizang

By Palden Nyima and Daqiong in Lhasa | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-12-05 14:59

A view of Kuhlhasseltia motuoensis. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A research team has discovered a new species of orchid in Metog county of the Xizang autonomous region.

The team confirmed that the species, found in August, is new, Xinhua News Agency reported. It was named Kuhlhasseltia motuoensis — "motuo" being the Mandarin name of the county in where it was discovered. The survey result was published in the Journal of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy.

There are about 11 species of Kuhlhasseltias around the world, including two species found in China.

The difference between Kuhlhasseltia motuoensis and other species of Kuhlhasseltia is obvious. The middle part of the lip of the new one is yellow, with two rows of toothed protrusions on each side of its outer edge. Small lobes on the front lip are nearly circular, and there are green spots between the two lobes.

According to Jin Xiaohua, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Botany, the latest survey shows that there is only one wild population of Kuhlhasseltia motuoensis, with approximately 25 plants, that has been discovered.

Located at the foot of the Himalayas, Metog is a global biodiversity hot spot because of its altitude, which spans many different climate and vegetation zones, Metog has a unique and rich ecosystem, and is favorable to the growth of orchids.

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