Beautiful New Daisy Species Discovered in Venezuelan Andes

Biologists have announced the discovery of an extraordinary new species of flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae.

Beautiful inflorescence of Coespeletia palustris. Image credit: Luis "Kike" Gámez.

Beautiful inflorescence of Coespeletia palustris. Image credit: Luis “Kike” Gámez.

The new species is named Coespeletia palustris. It is found in a few marshy areas of the paramo, and is endemic to the Venezuelan Andes. Páramo can refer to a variety of alpine tundra ecosystems, and is often described with its geographical confinements in the Andes.

The species of the genus Coespeletia are typical for high elevations and six of seven described species in total are endemic to the heights of the Venezuelan Andes. The seventh species comes from northern Colombia, but needs further revision according to the authors of the study.

Most of the Coespeletia species are restricted to very high elevations, in a range between 3,8 – 4,8 km. The specifics of such habitat are believed to be the reason behind the peculiar and unrepeated pollen characteristics of this genus.

Coespeletia palustris in a typical marshy habitat. Image credit: Mauricio Diazgranados.

Coespeletia palustris in a typical marshy habitat. Image credit: Mauricio Diazgranados.

“Even after decades of studies and collections in the paramos, numerous localities remain unstudied,” said Dr Mauricio Diazgranados of Smithsonian Institution, a first author of the paper published in the journal Phytokeys.

“The new species described in this paper is called palustris because of the marshy habitat in which it grows.”

“High elevation marshes and wetlands are among the ecosystems which are most impacted by climate change. Therefore this species may be at a certain risk of extinction as well,” Dr Diazgranados concluded.

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Bibliographic information: Diazgranados M, Morillo G. 2013. A new species of Coespeletia (Asteraceae, Millerieae) from Venezuela. PhytoKeys 28: 9-18; doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.28.6378