A new tree species of Magnolia found in northern Myanmar

During fieldwork in the Hponkanrazi Wildlife Sanctuary,northern Myanmar, Magnolia kachinensis, a new tree species was founded

Magnolia is a large genus of flowering plant species in the family Magnoliaceae. Myanmar currently has only 21 species of Magnolia. 

During their fieldwork in the Hponkanrazi Wildlife Sanctuary, northern Myanmar, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) collected an unusual species of Magnolia. After undertaking a comprehensive literature and herbarium review, the researchers confirmed that this species is new to science. They named it as Magnolia kachinensis and got it published in Phytotaxa.  

Magnolia kachinensis is a tree reaching 20 to 35 meters tall. Its diameter at breast height (dbh) is about 50-100 cm. Its flowers are strongly perfumed and its timber is used for making furniture and house building by the local people. 

Magnolia kachinensis resembles Magnolia dandyi and M. zhengyiana in having twigs, buds, leaves and floral with densely long and ferruginous, tomentose brachyblasts.  

It differs from M. dandyi in its fewer secondary veins and tepals, absent or invisible pedicels, conical-shaped floral bud, 116–138 carpels and ovoid to narrowly ellipsoid fruits. 

It is distinguished from M. zhengyiana by its leaves bigger, 15–20 secondary veins, conical-shaped floral buds, 116–138 carpels and ovoid to narrowly ellipsoid fruits. 

Magnolia kachinensis is currently only known from Putao County, Kachin State, Myanmar. So far, it is only known from one locality with less than 50 mature individuals. Thus, the researchers regarded it as critically endangered, according to UCN Red List Categories and Criteria.  

The field work was financially supported by the Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS-SEABRI). 

Contact 

ZHOU Shishun 

Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China 

E-mail:  zss@xtbg.org.cn  

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Magnolia kachinensis