Sorbus cibagouensis sp. nov. (A) wild plant, (B) flower, (C) type specimen. Photographed by Zhao Mingxu.[Photo/onlinelibrary.wiley.com]
Chinese scientists have found a new plant species belonging to the genus Sorbus in Zayu county, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, and their findings have been published by the Nordic Journal of Botany.
Researchers Yin Zhijian and Zhao Mingxu, from China Forest Exploration & Design Institute in Kunming, joined in a comprehensive exploration team to study the Cibagou National Nature Reserve in Zayu in 2013 to find the new species.
The genus Sorbus now has more than 250 species, widely spreading throughout the temperate regions of Asia, Europe and North America. China has 67 species and 43 of them are endemic, according to Flora of China.
Many species of the genus could be used as ornamental plants with beautiful flowers and the pomes.
The Cibagou reserve covers an area of about 101,400 square kilometers and spans an elevation of 1,500 to 6,167 meters above the sea level. Few researchers had collected specimens in the reserve before the exploration.
Scientists collected the specimens of the new species in the mixed broadleaf-conifer forest about 2,600 meters to 2,950 meters above the sea level in the reserve.
The new species is related to Sorbus monbeigii (Cardot) Balakr, a species found in northwestern part of Yunnan province, but it has five styles, one more than the former, and small stipules and more leaves.
The new species has been named as Sorbus cibagouensis, which is related to where it was found, and it is the first plant species to be named after Cibagou reserve, which attempts to bring scientists' attention to the reserve.
In fact, the new plant is the second new species found in Zayu. In 2013, Professor Sun Guozheng found a new frog species named as Amolops chayuensis in Zayu.
Scientists in the comprehensive exploration in 2013 also found other 194 plant species for the first time in Zayu, 31 of which were for the first time recorded in Tibet.