A new species from Tibet, China---Herminium motuoensis

Herminium motuoensis (Orchidaceae, Orchidoideae), a new species from Tibet, China, is described and illustrated.

Herminium Linnaeus (1758:251) (Orchidaceae, Orchidoideae) consists of approximately 49 species, widespread in the northern hemisphere, with a centre of diversity in the Himalayas. Morphologically, Herminium is characterized by having (sub-)globose tubers, lip with concave or spurred base, pollinia with reduced caudicles. During our fieldwork in Tibet from 2014 to 2017,an interesting species of Herminium was discovered which is described here as a new species.

Herminium motuoensis grows in alpine meadows with elevation of 3570 m. During our field in Tibet from 2014 to 2017, one population with around 50 plants were discovered. The name motuoensis is derived from the type locality of the new species, Motuo County, Tibet.

Plant 10–15 cm tall. Tubers globose, fleshy. Stem erect, smooth, with a basal leaf and 2 tubular sheaths at base. Leaf oblong-elliptic, apex acute, base contracted into amplexicaul sheath. Peduncle cylindrical; acuminate. Flowers yellowish green; pedicel and ovary twisted.

Although the habitat of new species, alpine meadows along the stream, is rather common in alpine region of Motuo County, Tibet, China. However, only one population was discovered during our ten-year fieldwork in Tibet. In addition, alpine meadows in Tibet were overgrazed by yak and cattle. According to IUCN (2017), Herminium motuoensis was tentatively treated as Endangered (EN, criterion D).

This research was supported by grants from Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences(Grant No. Y4ZK111B01), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31670194).



Herminium motuoensis


Herminium motuoensis X.H. Jin, sp. nov. A. Habitat. B. Inflorescence. C. Plant. D. Flower, front view. E.Tubers. Photographed by Xiaohua Jin